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The Rev. Thomas Baptist Snowden, A. B., B. D. 


MAR 3 1 296* 


mar 3 1 im 


This autobiography of Rev. John B. Snowden was pre- 
pared by him some time before his death with the desire to 
have it published during his lifetime. He had placed the 
manuscript in our hands for us to edit and publish it. We 
had commenced to prepare it for the press some time before 
death claimed its author, but after his death we deferred its 
publication, not being fully decided in our mind whether it 
should be given to the public or not. 

But remembering that it was the desire of the author 
to give to his many friends, and especially to the rising gen- 
eration, some facts concerning his long and well-improved 
life that might interest and benefit them in order to strive 
to make the most of life, we have concluded to fulfill the 
task imposed upon us to the best of our ability, and here- 
with give the book to the public. 

While the volume is small, a careful reading of it, we 
believe, will prove both interesting and instructive to all 
who read it. The writer was not what the world calls a great 
man, yet he possessed the essential qualities of real great- 
ness, which are honesty, truthfulness, purity and goodness, 
intellectual greatness without these qualities is a failure. 
Pope says kk An honest man is the noblest work of God/' No 
one who knew John B. Snowden would dare say he was not 
strictly honest. 

We have recently learned that some of the author's friends 
are still patiently waiting for his book. We are sorry that 
they have been kept so long from its pages, but cherish the 
hope that fifteen years will not make it any less interesting. 
We also trust that all mistakes and the lack of graphic and 
cogent literary skill will be pardoned. The author simply 
stated his facts in a plain and common-sense way. 

Thomas B. Sxowden. 

Huntington, W. Va., May 10, 1900. 


The purpose of this work which I have the pleasure of intro- 
ducing to the reader is to keep in memory the life and 
eminent service of an honored servant of the Lord. The 
sacred scriptures bear testimony and clearly define to us 
as to who are the just, the true, the upright in life. Such as 
honor God, render acceptable service to His church, are of 
inestimable value to the community in which they live and 
to their fellow-men in whatever good work to which they 
have devoted their lives, exerting moral and religious in- 
fluences that have been effectual for good, and, the best of 
all, have been the happy means of leading many hundreds 
of their fellow-men to a better state of being and of devotion 
to the cause of Jesus Christ. Of the countless number thus 
engaged I have no hesitancy in naming the Rev. John B. 
Snowden, of precious memory. He was born of humble 
parentage and grew up to manhood under those limited ad- 
vantages such as were permitted in his early day to those 
who were the servants and slaves of men. Recognizing the 
fact that he was a man, he struggled hard to develop his 
manhood and prepare himself for a useful career. He 
grasped every opportunity for improvement amid straitened 
environments. His highest ambition was to be a useful 
man. He hungered and longed for the invaluable benefits 
of an education that would make him a tower of strength in 
his day. And though that opportunity never came to him, 
as is the great advantage of the colored youth of the present 
day, with every facility for a broad and liberal education, 
with the doors of every school open before him, under the 
golden privilege of liberty and freedom, yet our venerable 
friend made the best of his time in what is called the dark 


day, and of him it can be forcibly stated he did well what 
he could. Early in life he became a Christian and united 
with the Methodist Episcopal Church. He felt it was his 
calling of God to preach the Gospel and help in the gracious 
work of saving the souls of men. He was abundant in 
labors, and doubtless the seals of his ministry are many. 
He was a devoted student of the scriptures and from the 
sacred word he gathered the truths that he presented to 
others. A man of faith, living himself in the blessed expe- 
rience of the truths of God's holy word, exemplary in devo- 
tion to religion and to all the doctrines and discipline of the 
church of his choice, to all of which he was an uncom- 
promising adherent, his specialty was the doctrine of Chris- 
tian perfection as taught .by Mr. Wesley in his immortal 
work, "Christian Perfection." This doctrine he always pre- 
sented in the sermons that it was the privilege of the writer 
to hear him preach. It w r as the joyful experience of a full 
and complete salvation in Christ Jesus our Lord that en- 
abled him to triumph in the closing moments of his life. 
Our venerable friend united with the Washington Confer- 
ence in the year 1864, and served with acceptability and 
success the charges to which he was assigned. He was the 
father of a large family. His prudent and careful manner 
of life is seen in the children with which he was blest. His 
sons who have grown up to manhood now occupy positions 
of honor in the Christian ministry and business circles, and 
his daughters have become the wives of several leading 
ministers and prominent men. Several years before his 
death, unable to do effective pastoral work, he was granted 
a superannuated relation, but continued to preach and work 
among the churches as his strength would allow, true to the 
last. He died in sacred peace at his home in Westminister, 
Md., September 8, 1885, crowned with a good old age, es- 
teemed, beloved, honored, revered. His life is an example 
of fidelity to the youth of our day. "Well done, good and 
faithful servant !" 

Baltimore, May 16, 1900. 

E. W. S. Peck. 



My Grandparents. 

My maternal grandmother was Sarah Minty Barrikee. 
She was stolen from Guinea, a province on the southwestern 
coast of Africa, in the year 1767 or 1768. She often spoke 
of her native land. The thoughts of it would cause her to 
weep bitterly, knowing that she would never again set her 
eyes upon the home of her birth, where the happy days of 
childhood and the joyful days of youth and young woman- 
hood had been spent in girlish sports and mirthful glee. 
She was a person with a strong womanly character and of 
great natural ability. I have no doubt about it, that had she 
the same opportunities of those who stole, bought and held 
her in bondage as a chattel she would have equaled them in 
intellectual development and far surpassed them in humane 
^principles and religious culture. When stolen she was 
richly attired and lavishly adorned with jewels of great 
value. Her owners believed that she was the daughter of 
a nobleman or king. The captain took her jewels and gold 
lace, stating that he would give them to her when they got to 
this good country; but grandmother never saw her jewels 
again, and God only knows what became of them. She had 
three holes in each ear. The ring in the lower hole was very 
large, and she said all were of pure African gold. She said, 
"I was stolen while pleasuring with my maid Katy, and left 
behind me a husband and son whom I loved tenderly and 
affectionately." Thus she displayed the character of a true 
wife; yet such action upon the part of a slave was considered 
wrong and out of place by the master class in civilized Amer- 
ica in ante-bellum days. Thank God, the cruel days of slavery 
have gone into the grave of forgetfulness, although much of 
the same spirit of those times still stretches its demoniacal 
form across the land. I plead with my people to strive to 


develop the highest type of Christian manhood by being dili- 
gent, sober and watchful unto prayer. I ask all good people 
of the other races to unite with us in shaping the destinies of a 
long oppressed and needy people, and to mould such a strong 
moral and Christian sentiment throughout the American 
continent so that the whole nation may soon rise up to the 
dignity of true manhood and with one omnipotent blow 
crush out ignorance, race prejudice and injustice. 

My grandmother was sold by those who stole her from 
Africa at Elkridge Landing, Anne Arundel county, Mary- 
land. Mr. Nicholas Harden bought her, giving a few hogs- 
heads of tobacco in payment for his slave, 

Mr. Harden was Roman Catholic, and, as it was the 
custom for the slave who joined church to join the one to 
which the master belonged, grandmother united with the 
Catholic Church and received the Christian name of Sal. 

Although a slave and far from home and kindred, my 
grandmother was usually cheerful, being of a happy dis- 
position, and delighted in singing. She had a strong, clear, 
rich and a melodious voice, which she used to great advan- 
tage and with wonderful effect. Many times during the day 
while her hands were busily engaged with household work 
her voice could be heard in cheerful song ringing out upon 
the breezes in joyful lays. Those who heard her sing would 
listen with breathless silence as if held by some magic 
power. Aye ! it was the magic of a human voice attuned 
by the spirit of God to sing praises to His holy name. Sing- 
ing is an element of great power, and this was clearly man- 
ifested by the Southern slaves, who lightened their heavy 
burdens, eased their pains and soothed their sorrows by the 
power of song. The long weary days of unrequited toil 
were shortened, the intense heat of the Southern sun was 
lessened and heavy tasks were more easily performed be- 
cause of light hearts and bright spirits, made so by the 
power in song. 

If slavery had a sunny spot in it the singing of the planta- 
tion melodies composed by the slaves made that bright place 
in that dire system. 


If our fathers and mothers could praise God in joyful 
song with earnestness and religious fervor in the dark 
days of human chatteldom when they could not praise God 
under "their own vine and fig tree/' those among us who 
are not as faithful in the service of Him who hath given us 
freedom from man by Lincoln's pen and freedom from sin 
by the blood of Jesus should hang their heads in shame, 
repent of their sins and learn to praise God in the highest 
with heart and voice. 

Grandmother took great delight in talking about her na- 
tive land. She never wearied in telling of its customs, 
beauties and animals. She said elephants were plentiful and 
did not fear man. They would run anyone who had any- 
thing red about him. Hogs were called in her language 
"Xaphmana" and were not considered fit to eat. She would 
not eat hog flesh. 

Grandmother died in 1823 or 1824, and was thought to 
be about a hundred years old. Thus ended the life of one, 
born free, a God-given right, enslaved by man, a wrong 
from the bottomless pit, full of years, and, we trust, of the 
grace of God. 

My maternal grandfather was Thomas Collier, an Eng- 
lishman, who was generous, affable and kind. He loved 
my grandmother tenderly and lived with her until sep- 
arated by the cruel hand of death. Although he was not 
married to grandmother according to the law of man — for 
the marriage of a white person to a colored one was a crime 
before the law — yet we believe that they were man and wife 
before God, united by the bonds of love and affection and 
sealed at the bar of justice in the court of heaven. 

Such a law is a crime against God and man. The law 
forbids marriages between the two races, and the State's 
prison is for all who violate it, yet the races can live together 
if the man is white and nothing is said or done about it. In 
other words, the law prohibits persons from marrying who 
love each other and wish to be united in matrimony because 
one is white and the other is colored, and has nothing to say 
when the white man lives with his colored mistress and 


begets children which the law does not acknowledge as 

Such a law exists in most of the Southern States today, 
an open shame, a disgrace to all who favor it, a cruel wrong 
heaped upon many who wish to do right in the fear of God 
and in the sight of men. "Those whom God hath joined to- 
gether let no man put asunder;" but the law says, "Put 
them asunder in the State's penitentiary." Let us pray that 
this curse may soon be blotted out forever. 

My paternal grandparents were not known to me, save 
the name of my grandfather, which was John Snowden. 

My Parents. 

My mother, Fanny Snowden, was born in Anne Arundel 
county, Maryland. The date of her birth is not known, as 
the record of the birth of slave children was seldom kept. 
My mother was a devout and earnest Christian, and was 
very careful in training her children, constantly teaching 
them the principles of the Christian religion. She taught us 
the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, the catechism 
and other short prayers suitable to our years and under- 
standing. Believing that good morals, were essential to 
Christian character, she taught us that lying, swearing, 
cheating, stealing and all other immoral habits were wrong, 
and strictly bade us not to do these things. She was strict 
with us because she loved her children and plainly showed 
us the consequences of evil doing and the blessedness of 
right doing. 

My mother was a godly woman, who prayed to God con- 
tinually through life, and when coming down to death she 
prayed to our Heavenly Father and fell asleep in Jesus. Be- 
fore she died she said to her mistress. "Take care of my little 
one ' — that w T as sister Fanny, who was six weeks old. When 
mother's last hour came she sent brother Nathan to the big 
house to tell her mistress that she was dying. When her mis- * 
tress came to her bed she said, "Miss Delila, I am dying; I 


want you to take care of my six-weeks'-old babe ;" then died 
praying, and went home to heaven to rest. I was taken from 
my mother when seven years old, but received these facts 
concerning her death from kind friends and her mistress. 

I thank God for giving me such a mother, who impressed 
her noble character upon her children to such an extent 
that we all have walked in her footsteps unto old age and 

I tried to train my children as I was trained, and in a 
large measure God has blessed the labors of His humble 
servant. Parents who really love their children cannot fail 
to do their whole duty toward them as far as they under- 
stand it. 

As long as reason and memory shall last I shall fondly 
cherish the remembrance of mother, till we shall meet in our 
Father's house above. 

Those who fail to lay a moral and a religious foundation 
deep and strong in their homes have made the greatest fail- 
ure it is possible for anyone to make. The homes are the 
bulwarks of the nation. Good homes, then, are a guarantee 
of just laws, good government, a prosperous and happy 

My mother had nine children, six boys and three girls. 
I was the third child. She died in the month of April, 1815, 
six weeks after the youngest child was born, from the effects 
of a cold contracted by exposure. Slave mothers often had 
to go to hard outdoor work too soon after giving birth to 
a child, and from that cause death was often the result. 

My youngest sister was named Fanny, after mother's 
name. She lives with me in Westminster, Aid. She was 
sold -South when a young girl and lived in Xew Orleans, La., 
till 1864. Having been set free by the Emancipation Proc- 
lamation of President Lincoln, she returned to her native 
State. I sent her the money to pay her traveling expenses. 

My father was Nathan Snowden. He was a good hus- 
band and kind father. He belonged to Mr. Ele Dorsey of 
Elkridge Landing, Anne Arundel county, Maryland. He 
lived seven miles from mother, but came to see her and 


the children several times each week, walking the seven 
miles after working hard all day. He was devoted to his 
family, and usually brought something for us at each 

Father was not a Christian. He was a strict moralist, but 
was not satisfied with his life, and often expressed a desire 
to be a Christian and a Methodist. 

Father was perfectly honest and upright through life. 
He was never known to use profane language. The prin- 
ciple of right doing was largely developed in him. I do not 
know that father ever embraced the Christian religion. 

We children did not see much of father during the week, 
as it was late before he got home at night, and had to leave 
long before it was time for us to get up in the morning. 

He died some years after mother's death, and was peace- 
fully laid to rest in the silent grave till the resurrection morn- 
ing, when all shall be summoned to appear at the bar of 
justice to render a strict account for the deeds done in the 
body to the Judge of all the earth. 

I had an aunt named Jane. She was born on the water 
while my grandmother was being brought to this country 
by the men-stealers who tore her away from her native land 
and made her a chattel in a strange country. 

Aunt Jane was raised up in the Catholic Church and con- 
tinued a faithful member of the same until she married. She 
married a Methodist man, who persuaded her to attend the 
Methodist Church with him. After some hesitation she 
consented to attend her husband's church. There she was 
happily converted and joined the Methodist Church. She 
said, "I never knew what the true Christian religion was 
until I found it in the Methodist Church. Now a blessed 
experience, a living reality, fills my soul with joy and glad- 
ness." She ever after that happy event lived a consistent and 
peaceful Christian life. According to the testimony of ,her 
mistress, she died happily, breathing her last in fervent 

"Hosannah to Jesus on high, 
Another hath entered her rest." 



My Birth, Early Life, Conversion and Call to the 


I was born in Anne Arundel county, Maryland, May 14, 
1801. Having been carefully taught by my pious mother 
from my early childhood, I grew up with good moral habits. 
I never used profane language, tobacco nor liquors to ex- 
cess. I tried to be honest in everything and perfectly truth- 
ful. I believed it was better to tell the truth if I suffered 
for my boyish wrongs than to avoid punishment by lying 
and suffer the pangs of a guilty conscience. It never pays 
to lie, for "be sure your sins will find you out." By untruth- 
ful statements we may deceive men, but God searcheth the 
hidden things of the heart. The early impressions made 
upon my young mind that God sees and hears all we do and 
say have never been forgotten. 

I was very fond of children's sports, such as wrestling, 
boxing, running, jumping, playing ball, and in the winter 
time making men of snow and sliding down the hill on 
boards. Once while thus sliding down, the board struck my 
old boss' young fruit tree and cut it off as clear as if it had 
been done with an axe. That stopped my sliding for some 
time. I was very active and strong for one of my years, and 
was more than a match for boys of my age. I took great 
delight in snugly landing my playmates upon their backs in 
our tests in strength and activity. A young man whipped 
me because I whipped his brother, a boy of my size and age. 
I made a promise that when I got to be a man I would settle 
with him in the fistic enterprise. But before I considered 
myself competent for the intended task a glorious change 
took place in my young life. God, for Christ's sake, par- 
doned me of sin and made me a new creature in His Son 
Jesus, and old fight was done away. 

Up to the time of my conviction of sin I had lived a good 
moral life. I would not swear, lie, steal or keep bad com- 
pany. I was obedient to my owners, always ready to obey 
their commands. Having been taught to pray from child- 


hood, I prayed every day, repeated the Apostles' Creed, and 
from that manner of living I concluded I was a Christian. 
On reading- the eighteenth chapter of the Gospel according 
to St. Matthew my attention was arrested, especially when I 
read the words, third verse, "Except ye be converted, and 
become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom 
of heaven." I wondered what these words meant, and be- 
cause I was not a little child w r as I to be shut out of heaven? 
These words of Jesus weighed heavily upon my young mind 
and my heart was made sad. 

A short while after this strangely sad experience began 
I went to hear the Rev. Alired Griffith preach. His text was 
from Matthew 13:8: "But others fell into good ground and 
brought forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, 
some thirtyfold." The sermon made a good impression 
upon me, and I returned home feeling much relief from the 
state in which I was when I entered the church a Sunday 
morning in March, 1820, yet I was far from being satisfied 
with my state of mind. 

The Rev. Mr. Griffith made another appointment to 
preach in the same church in a few weeks, but failed to get 
there to fill the appointment, and the Rev. Burgess Nelson 
preached in his place. He took his text from the prophecy 
of Daniel 12:2: " And many of them that sleep in the dust 
of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to 
shame and everlasting contempt." 

The sermon was preached in the month of April, 1820. 
The earnest words of the preacher as they came, prompted 
by a loving heart, moulded by a keen intellect, warmed by 
the fire of Jesus' love, and a consciousness of their great 
importance flowing in a continuous stream of sacred elo- 
quence, sent conviction of sin and guilt to my heart. At the 
close of the service I returned home with a heavy heart and 
a troubled mind. But I managed to conceal my convictions 
and moved around as if nothing was w T rong. In the even- 
ing I fed the cattle and did my other work as if all was well 
with my soul. I appeared calm without, but there was a 


mighty raging of the troubled waters in my poor sin-smitten 

After dark I went some distance from the house, knelt 
down and prayed as best I could. This done, I felt some- 
what relieved and returned to the house still troubled. 
Monday morning I arose and went about my work as usual, 
but with very different feelings. I was sent to the woods to 
cut wood. After cutting down one tree, the burden of sin 
was so heavy that I put down my axe and said, "If my owner 
come or not, I was going to seek the Lord." I went some 
two or three hundred yards from my work and fell on my 
knees and prayed earnestly to the Lord to pardon my sins 
and convert my soul. I had not prayed very long before 
God, for Christ's sake, pardoned my sins and set my soul at 
liberty and put a new T song in my mouth. 

I cried, "Glory to God ! Praise the Lord for what He has 
done for me." 

After a season of great rejoicing in the bushes I started to 
return to my woodcutting. The closer I got to the tree I 
had felled the happier I became. Heaven seemed to be right 
over my head. I loved every person I knew. From that 
moment everything seemed to wear a new aspect. Even 
reptiles seemed to be things of beauty and to praise their 
Creator. The crawling insects, bees and singing birds all 
seemed to delight in praising their Maker. 

Although I had hid my conviction of sin because I de- 
sired to do so, I had no wish to keep my conversion a secret. 
The news was too good not to be published, and I published 
it to all around. 

This brought great trials in my new-found faith. My mis- 
tress, who was a very wicked woman, did everything she 
could to torment me and make me give up my religion. 
She cursed me violently and gave me three weeks to hold 
on. Finding that she could not drive me from the right 
way by cursing and threats, she took the covering from my 
bed, saying she would freeze the religion out of me. But 
none of those things moved me from the heavenly road. 1 
tried to obey and please my mistress as far as I could, but 


when serving the. Lord was displeasing to her I chose rather 
to please and obey God than her. 

The beauty of the Christian religion unfolded itself daily 
to my untutored mind. The Lord led me on gently 
and tenderly, revealing His will more perfectly to me as I 
grew older in His service. 

I joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, where I first 
heard the real Gospel preached, and I have ever loved the 
church of my early choice. 

One year after my conversion I was convinced that the 
Lord had called me to preach His Gospel, but being a slave 
and without an education, I concluded that I could not 

But the burden was laid upon me, and all attempts to rid 
myself of that great calling only seemed to make it heavier. 
My decision at last to try to preach was aided by a vision. 
I saw in my vision a congregation before me, and I was 
preaching to it the word of life. Then the whole world 
seemed to be lying before me waiting to hear the Gospel of 
peace. One year after this struggle in my soul had com- 
menced I was licensed to exhort. 

I went forth with that holy commission to exhort sinners 
to flee from the wrath to come, and believers to live lives 
devoted to God. Having used the authority conferred upon 
me faithfully for one year, I was considered worthy of going 
up a step higher. But before I could be licensed to preach I 
had to preach a trial sermon before the Quarterly Con- 
ference. I did the best I could under the circumstances, 
but considered my effort a failure, and concluded then and 
there to preach no more. But the Quarterly Conference 
judged otherwise and licensed me to preach. Mr. Jesse 
Ryan, who was a listener to that trial sermon and also to the 
opinions expressed by the members of the Quarterly Con- 
ference, was well pleased with the sermon himself, and said 
the Conference were surprised at the able effort made by the 
uneducated slave boy and voted unanimously to license me 
to preach April, 1823. 

The action of the Conference gave me new encourage- 


ment, and I went forth to do my duty as best I could in the 
name and strength of Jesus. 

Although I considered my first sermon a failure, by the 
blessings of the Lord a moderate degree of success has at- 
tended my ministry of over sixty years, and the few remain- 
ing days shall be given to the advancement of the kingdom 
of my Heavenly Father. 

In 1826 I had another vision which left a strong impres- 
sion upon my mind that I was called to preach. 

I seemed to be carried away in the vision to a certain 
place where there were many happy souls praising God. 
The place was divided into different apartments. In 
the first apartment was a large vessel, above which 
was a clear stream continually dropping its water into 
the vessel, and yet the vessel never got full. The vessel 
seemed like a very large caldron, bright and dazzling, and 
the water that continued to drop in it was as clear as crystal. 
In the second apartment there were many happy souls who 
were continually praising God. One of them spoke to me 
and said, kk If the east part were taken away fire would de- 
scend." Then he said, k 'Gird on thy sword and glittering 
shield and with thy helmet take the field." As I was return- 
ing from the scene I met Mrs. Harden, my mistress, and she 
asked me if I entered in with the holy beings, and I told her 
I could not do so till I had finished my ministry. After this 
vision I was fully persuaded that I was called to preach the 
word of the Lord. I was thus greatly encouraged and 
strengthened in my new work in the vineyard of the Lord. 

I gave myself anew to prayer and fasting and sought more 
earnestly the knowledge of God that surpasseth all under- 
standing. I asked the Lord to teach me how to read His 
word and to write His law and Gospel upon my heart so that 
I might be able to teach it to others, and the Lord answered 
my prayers. 

I continued to pray three and four times a day. When I 
arose in the morning I would kneel down by my bed and 
pray. After I fed the horses, would go behind the barn and 
pray. I prayed at dinner-time while the horses were eating, 


and before retiring to rest at night I would pray, thank and 
praise my Maker. By these means I was greatly strength- 
ened with power from on high. 

I read the Bible and learned many of its sacred truths by 
heart, a practice I have continued to follow for lo, these 
many years. With David I can say, kk Thy word have I hid 
in mine heart that I might not sin Against Thee/' 

The study of the Bible was of great interest to me, al- 
though I was a poor reader at this time. God helped me to 
understand what I read, and hence I was able to impart the 
word to others who hungered for the bread of life. 


My Owners, Their Treatment. My Conduct as a 
Seave. Views Regarding Slavery, and Strong 
Desires for Freedom. 

I had five owners. Nicholas Harden was the first one. 
He, owned my mother, and when born I was his property, 
according to the law of a free (?) country. As live property 
changed hands very often in those glorious (?) days, I soon 
passed from my first owner to his son, Matthew Harden. 
After being in his possession a short time the family wheel 
revolved once more and landed me into the hands of Nich- 
olas Harden, the son of Matthew and grandson of Nicholas 
Harden, my first owner. 

Before I had got fairly settled down in my new home and 
acquainted with the new surroundings once more the family 
revolving wheel sent me to a new owner, Mr. Thomas Ma- 
jors, who had married the granddaughter of my first owner. 
I should state here that before I passed into Mr. Majors' 
hands I had been sold to a slave-trader by the name of Wil- 
liam Belt, June, 1811, when I was ten years old. Mr. Nich- 
olas Harden told me that he had hired me out to Mr. Belt. 
But his conscience smote him for his sin, and he became 
very much troubled, so that he could not rest or sleep at 

The following Sunday morning he got up very early and 


went to see Mr. Belt in order to buy me back, but William 
Belt would not consent to sell me back. 

Miss Julia Harden, my owner's daughter, asked me if I 
knew why her father had gotten up so early that morning. 
I told her T did not. Then she told me her father had sold 
me to Mr. Belt and was troubled about it and had gone to 
see if Mr. Belt would sell me to him again, but that Mr. Belt 
had refused to do so. She said, "Father has returned and 
told mother that he does not know what to do about it." 
My mistress then came and told me to go and see Mr. Belt 
and beg off from him. I went to see Mr. Belt and found him 
sitting cross-legged in his parlor. I said, "Good morning, 
Mr. Belt/' He said, "Good morning/' Then I said, "Mr. 
Belt, I understand that you have bought me, and I came to 
see if you will not give me up. Won't you please give me 
up?" He asked me several questions, and I answered them 
politely,, and he said, "You are a smart fellow, and I reckon 
I will have to give you up." I said, "Thank you, sir," and 
returned home with a light heart. Mr. Harden returned 
Mr. Belt his money, and thus I was saved from being sold 
South. I do not call Mr. Belt my owner, because I did not 
go into his hands. 

Mr. Elisha Bennett was my fifth and last owner. He 
bought me when in my thirteenth year. Upon the 
whole I had what might be called good masters, but the 
mistress was not always a good woman. Many slaves re- 
ceived cruel treatment because the mistress was often a bad 
woman, "the worst thing the devil ever made." 

A slave's path was not strewn with roses. I had to go 
barefooted the most of the year till I was a young man. In 
the fall I would have to go out into the meadow while the 
grass was white with frost to drive up the horses and cows. 
I warmed my cold feet many times by standing on the place 
where a horse or cow had been lying and just driven up. 
During the fall and early winter my feet would get hard and 
dry and crack open and become very sore. My mother 
used to w T ash them in pot liquor to heal them. 

I had to reap in the harvest field barefooted, and to walk 


upon the new-made stubble was no pleasant task. My 
clothes were of the coarsest material and few in quantity. 

I was always willing and obedient to those who owned me. 
I never was whipped save once by any of my owners. I re- 
ceived a few strokes over my shoulders for letting a piece 
of meat fall. I never called any of my owners "Master. " I 
used the term "Boss" instead. I could not bear the thought 
of one man owning another and having to call him master. 
I owned but one Master, the Lord. Jesus Christ. I regarded 
slaveholding a great crime, one that man should give an ac- 
count of in the day of judgment. After a careful study of the 
subject I came to the conclusion that, all men ought to be 
free, and all good men should work to accomplish that end. 
I resolved within my own self that I would never increase 
slavery by any act of mine. 

I had a great desire to be free, and if I could not reach that 
end I determined never to marry a slave woman, knowing 
that if the mother was a slave her children were slaves also. 

As I grew T older my desire for freedom increased. Hence 
I commenced planning in order to bring about that result. 
After working all day for my owner I would work till late 
at night for myself. I made baskets and hickory brooms, 
distilled peppermint drops, pennyroyal drops, wormseed 
oil, sweet mint, wild bergamot and tame bergamot drops, 
sweet fennel and rose oil. These I sold by peddling 
during holidays. 

I was allowed to clear pieces of woodland, and received 
the first crop raised upon them, all the work being done at 
night. All the money made in these different lines of night 
work was saved and guarded with care with the one end in 
view, the purchasing of my freedom, the boon for which my 
young heart yearned. 

Thus T embraced every opportunity of making a few cents 
that presented itself. While other slaves, less thoughtful, 
spent the nights in idleness and sleep, I turned a large part 
of many nights in each year to my account, so that when the 


books were balanced I was a free man to do as God might 
direct. That night labor was sweetened by the thought that 
it was to bring freedom's glorious dawn in the near future. 


My Educational Advantages and the Use Made of 
Them. My Labor and Prayers for Freedom Re- 
warded. My Love for the Study of the Bible. 

I had a great desire to learn to spell and read. Before I 
knew my letters I could spell many words by heart, having 
heard my owner's children spell them in learning their 

The children, finding that I was anxious to learn, taught 
me the alphabet and to spell words of one syllable. By the 
time I had learned that much Mr. Majors sold me to Mr. 
Elisha Bennett, and he (Majors) moved to the State of Ohio. 
Thus I was left without book and teacher. The little taste 
of education that I had got from my children teachers gave 
me an appetite for more. At this time in my life I had no 
money, and in order to obtain a book I must buy one. So 
a plan must be found by which the money could be obtained. 
The plan was soon found. 

I made a trap and set it for partridges, and soon caught 
some. I sold them and got money enough to buy a spelling- 
book, but as I was a slave I could not buy the book myself. 
I gave the money to a white boy and asked him to get me a 
Dillworth spelling-book, the kind that Mr. Majors' children 
taught me in. The boy got the required book, the much- 
coveted prize. 

I then went to work in earnest studying at night and 
Sundays till I learned to read. When I came across a 
word, which I often did, that I was doubtful about the pro- 
nunciation, I w T ould remember how it was spelled, and at 
the first opportunity would ask some one of my white play- 
mates who attended school how to pronounce the word, and 
when once told I never forgot it. 


After I completed the Dillworth Speller I got a John 
Comley Speller, and went through that with the same dili- 
gence and care until mastered. I next came across the 
Methodist Hymn Book and fell in love with it. I learned 
and still repeat many of those old hymns, which I have 
learned to love more and more as I grew older in the church 
of my choice. 

I then bought a New Testament, and to my surprise and 
delight found I could read in it, and many hours were spent 
in reading the delightful words of Jesus, the Son of God. 
The story of the Nazarene, although I knew but little about 
Him at that time, charmed me. It was the history of the 
kind of life I believed all should try to live. 

The next book added to my library was a copy of the 
Bible. I read it faithfully, and was soon convinced that it 
was the word of God, and the more I read it the more I 
wanted to read it. 

My mistress was opposed to my learning to read, and 
would not allow me to have books if she knew it. Hence 
I had to hide my new-found treasury and to study as best I 
could without her knowledge of that fact. 

When the moon shone brightly I studied by the light of 
the pale-faced moon. Many a lesson I learned by moon- 
light. At other times I studied by the light of the fire burn- 
ing upon the fireplace and brightened at times by shavings 
thrown upon it, the refuse from the baskets and brooms I 
made. While studying in this way I had to be very careful 
in order to keep the book from the eye of my mistress. So 
I always studied in the house with some work by my side 
as a protection. As soon as I heard anyone at the door I 
would slip the book under me, pick up my work and acted 
as if nothing but the work in hand claimed my attention. 

Not being sure that I knew how to pronounce all the 
words correctly in my reading, I looked around for someone 
to help me. I succeeded in getting Mrs. Catherine Lynch 
as my teacher for twenty-nine nights, and paid her one dol- 
lar for her services. The Bible was the only book used dur- 
ing that time. 


I made the very best use I could of my time and teacher. 
Being blessed with a good memory, I always had the lesson 
assigned me the night before. Certain portions of each 
lesson were to be memorized, and I always had the task done 
at the appointed time. 

I have spent a good many dollars since that school period, 
and have tried to do so to the best advantage, but I think 
that no dollar I ever invested has brought forth as good re- 
sults as the one paid to Mrs. Lynch for teaching me. 

I am a great lover of knowledge, and have been trying 
for many long years to add to the little information I gained 
under adverse circumstances, or, as Uncle Tom called it, 
"the University of Adversity." If I had the same oppor- 
tunities in my young days as the young people of today have 
I should have completed a college course and have made 
the very best use of the time spent in that course. My thirst 
for knowledge has been a lifelong thirst. 

After I commenced to preach I was more anxious to be 
free than ever. I continued to pray to God for freedom, to 
open the door so that T might buy myself. 

I soon concluded to present the matter to my owner. I 
went to Mr. Bennett and asked him to please to give me a 
chance to buy myself. He said, "Do I not treat you well?" 
I said, "You do, sir." Then he said, "You are worth a thou- 
sand dollars, but I will set you free. You shall not serve 
me a day longer than my brother, who has six years before 
he is twenty-one/' I then said to him, "If you will give me 
a chance I can get free a little sooner than six years." He 
said, "Give me four hundred dollars and you can go by pay- 
ing me what money you have and giving me security for the 
balance." I said no more about my freedom at that time, 
but I continued to pray to the Judge of all the earth to help 
me in the struggle for liberty and then waited patiently for 
the result. 

Not a great while after our first interview in regard to my 
freedom Mr. Bennett came to me and said, "John, I have 
come to the conclusion to give you your freedom if you will 
give me three hundred dollars and remain with me one 


year/' I replied, ''Mr. Bennett, if you will give me time 
enough I will give you two hundred dollars and ten months' 
work/' My old boss said, ki You can go for that. Pay me 
what money you have and I do not want any security or in- 
terest for the balance. Get someone to draw up writings to 
that effect and that will settle it." 

I complied with the request and had the agreement drawn 
up and signed it, paid what money I had saved for the antic- 
ipated day when God should open the door of the slave in- 
stitution and let His servant go free. I went forth from that 
day as a free man in body and soul. 

My prayers had been answ r ered because they were mixed 
with faith and works. 

The poet hath truly said : 

"Prayer is appointed to convey 
The blessings God designs to give." 

Is not freedom one of God's richest blessings? This was 
the way I viewed the subject, and, as already stated in an- 
other place, had determined in my own mind to be a free 
man myself and never to increase slavery by being the father 
of slave children nor to encourage the institution in any way. 

In after years when my family, with its responsibilities, 
began to weigh upon my mind, I desired to remove to a free 
State where I could educate my children. But my wife 
would not consent to leave her native State to find a home 
among strangers, although I urged her many times to do so. 

Pennsylvania was the State I wished to move my family 
to, where freedom nestled in every nook and corner. I have 
been in several parts of the State to preach and met with 
cordial and hearty welcome from her noble sons and daugh- 
ters, so that I felt that it was just the place for me and my 
family. But when the wife is not willing to go where her 
husband wants to go the only way to remain together in 
peace is to stay where she wants to stay. 

The course I pursued at night school greatly increased 
my love for the Bible, and after God pardoned my soul from 
sin I read the sacred pages constantly and prayerfully, and 


have so continued to do for over sixty years. I have mem- 
orized very much of the Bible, not so much from efforts in 
that direction, but from the oft and careful reading of the 
same portions. 

In order to learn the difference between our (King James) 
version and the Catholic version, I have read them both, 
comparing verse with verse and noting the different word- 
ings of the Catholic Bible from ours, so that in many places 
I can give the difference without turning to the Bible. My 
fondness for the Bible has increased year after year, so that 
with propriety I think I can say, in the words of John Wes- 
ley, "I am a man of one book." Not that I did not read any 
other books, for I did, and loved history especially ; but the 
Bible through a long life has been the book for me. 

I usually read a chapter every night at family prayers. I 
rose soon in the morning in order that I might have time to 
read the Bible before going to work. During the long 
nights in winter I got up long before daylight, made the fire, 
put on the kettle and then spent the time in reading God's 
word till the kettle boiled. In the morning while alone I 
read aloud, and in that way I seemed to get a better under- 
standing of the scriptures and enjoyed them more. 

With David I can say, ''Thy law do I love." Having 
memorized much of the Bible systematically I found it a 
great help in preaching. I can readily prove the statement 
of the text by quotations bearing on the same. 

My Marriage. My Wife and Children. 

After I obtained my freedom I felt at liberty to marry if 
I could find a suitable companion to take with me upon the 
matrimonial voyage. As some vessels have stranded on 
that sea, matrimony, because the second mate was not well 
suited for the place occupied, I did not want a mate who 
could not be trusted at the helm in my absence. 

In my search for a suitable mate I came to Westminster, 
where I met Miss Margaret Coone, a young woman of much 


force of character and real worth. After becoming well ac- 
quainted we concluded that we would be companions for 
life, and on the 15th day of May, 1831, we were joined to- 
gether in the holy bonds of matrimony and lived happily 
together till the 13th of February, 1870, when the union 
was broken by the cruel hand of death. 

My wife was born a slave in Westminister, Carroll county, 
Maryland, June 3, 1809. Her mistress was Mrs. Grand 
Adams, a German lady of considerable wealth. She had no 
children or relatives in this country, and at her death my 
wife and her mother were set free and all of her personal 
property left to them, and eight hundred dollars were left>so 
the interest went to my wife's mother as long as she lived, 
and at her death to my wife as long as she lived. 

The balance of Mrs. Grand Adams' money and real es- 
tate was left to the Catholic Church. I think that my wife's 
mother had a life interest in the real estate, but was cheated 
out of it, as she was defrauded of the most of her personal 
property by persons who took the advantage of her 

My wife was only eight years old when set free, yet she 
remembered how her mother was deceived by would-be 
friends, who w r ould come to her with a bill or agreement for 
her to sign, saying that it would be to her interest to sign the 
paper. Soon after that act a horse or a cow would be sold 
from her or some other property, till all had been taken 
from an illiterate ex- slave by satan's tools. 

The great number of wrongs that have been heaped upon 
my people in this line and is still being done in free America 
will never be known in this world, but, thank God, when all 
shall appear befqre a just Judge at the bar of justice the 
wrongdoers wil receive their due reward, the eternal pun- 
ishment wdiich they richly deserve. 

My wife not having any schooling, never learned to read 
and write, but she had a very strong memory and good nat- 
ural ability. She could calculate quickly and accurately any 
amount that came in her line of business. Those who could 


use the pencil had to be very swift if she did not calculate 
sooner than they. 

She often carried our produce to Baltimore, and at the 
same time take a number of articles for our neighbors, which 
she w r ould sell wherever she thought she could do the best. 
She would bring the things we needed and what the neigh- 
bors desired from the city. She would then tell what she 
got for each article sold, what she paid for each article 
bought, then I would help to count the receipts, expendi- 
tures and money in hand, and the account would always 
prove correct. 

Her memory was simply phenomenal. She was a woman 
of good judgment and great push and energy, and when she 
made up her mind to do anything she generally did it. 

As a housekeeper she had but few equals. She usually 
cut and made everything I and the children wore, except 
shoes and hats. She could shear the sheep, card the wool, 
spin the yarn and knit the socks. She could plow the 
ground, sow the flaxseed, pull the flax, thresh it, put it out 
to rot, break the flax and spin it. She was a splendid cook 
and baker. Her ginger and sugar cakes were known far 
and wide. She was very fond of good eatings, and would 
have them if planning and hard work would bring them. 

She was a good nurse and midwife, and in later years did 
much in that line. My wife was a very kind and peaceable 
neighbor, and would deny herself in order to oblige a friend. 
It was her aim to make others happy. But she seldom for- 
gave the injuries of others done to her or her friends, and 
had no more use for anyone whom she had befriended and 
refused to do likewise to her. 

She could speak German as fluently as English, that being 
her first language, and could talk Pennsylvania Dutch 

Our German neighbors delighted in coming to our house, 
because , they found one with whom they could talk with 
pleasure. I learned some words in German, but not enough 
to be of service to me. 

My wife did outdoor work as well as housework. I used 
to cut wood by the cord, and would go to the woods before 


daylight and have wife to bring my breakfast to me. While 
I ate wife would cord up the wood I had cut, and many cords 
did she put up for me in that way. 

When I went to farming she helped me and the boys in 
many lines of farmwork. She made a hand in the hayfield 
or grainfield with the ease of a man. She would plow corn, 
plant corn, top corn, strip blades, husk corn, haul corn, or 
anything else needed to be done she did not turn her back 
upon it. 

I might write a book of my wife's life that might interest 
many, but I did not start to do that, and must desist. 

We were blessed with many children, fourteen in num- 
ber, eight boys and six girls. Six have died and eight still 
live. Four — three boys and one girl — died while very 
young, and the two youngest boys died while young men, 
the one nearly fifteen years old and the other nearly twenty. 
I need not speak of my living children, as they are well 
known to most of my friends, and possibly to many of those 
who may read these lines. 

I tried, by the help of the Lord, to do a father's part by 
my children, and wherein I have failed was for lack of a 
proper education and of the loving care of a mother and 
father, from whom I was taken in childhood. 

There is no more weighty responsibility resting upon 
parents than the proper training of their children. To fail 
here is the saddest of all failures to which life falls heir. 


Father. The True Idea of His Position Thought- 
fully Considered. The Result of Thoughtless- 
ness on the Part of Many Who Marry. 

It is safe to say that most men do not carefully consider 
the great responsibility that fatherhood places upon them, 
and but few men think of it in its true light. To be a father 
in the truest sense imposes upon man the greatest responsi- 
bility to which he is an heir. 


A father is one who has caused the coming upon the stage 
of action a new being destined to weal or woe. 

This new creature is not responsible for its existence and 
training. The parents are the responsible parties, and for 
them to fail to undertsand the nature of the position they 
occupy necessitates a failure in the performance of the 
greatest duty resting upon them, and a failure here is a 

To put a man in the cab of an engine as engineer that is 
to carry a train of cars loaded with passengers who does not 
understand how to run an engine would be the most wanton 
crime a railroad company could be guilty of, for at any 
moment the innocent passengers might be hurled into eter- 
nity. Such being the result, the company would be tried 
for murder, and ought to be condemned and punished ac- 

But the man who assumes the responsibility of a father 
without the knowledge and proper appreciation of what is 
demanded of him in that relation commits a crime more 
wanton in its character than that of a railroad company that 
might place a man in the cab of a locomotive for the engi- 
neer who did not know how to run an engine. 

In the case of the train the pasengers might be prepared 
for any emergency, or as well prepared as they ever will be, 
and to live long or die soon, the end might be the same. But 
in the case of a father who causes innocent beings to be 
brought into a sinful world, the end of those beings will de- 
pend almost wholly upon their training, for which the father 
is largely responsible, and he who begets children without 
being able to care for and train them in the way they should 
go prepares fuel for the fire that is unquenchable. 

We sincerely hope and trust that every young person 
who may read these lines will never consent to marry until 
he has very carefully and prayerfully considered the weighty 
and responsible position in which fatherhood will place him. 
If you do not do this you will be guilty of a great sin of 

The many thousands of children all over our country to- 
day who are cursed with weak and ignorant parents and are 


becoming more vile than their parents are simply growing 
up to fill our beautiful land with criminals, paupers and out- 

Those wdio have legitimate parents — for many of them 
have not — are the offspring of persons who married simply 
to gratify animal passion, the lowest possible conception of 
marriage. Marriage in its true meaning is a holy institu- 
tion into which no mean and low conceptions should be al- 
lowed to enter. 

I did not marry until I was old enough to gain a fair un- 
derstanding of the marriage obligations. This I obtained 
from the Bible, the true source of wisdom, and from observa- 
tion, the best of teachers in many things. In this way I 
gained a fair knowledge of the duty and responsibility as- 
sumed when I entered upon the marriage relation. 

But as the years passed and my family continud to in- 
crease new light dawned upon me with great force. The 
matter of feeding and clothing my family, although consid- 
erable in itself, was of but little moment compared with the 
higher and far more weighty duties and responsibility of 
properly training and educating my children so that they 
might be good and honest citizens, peaceable and respected 
neighbors and intelligent and earnest Christians. 

A father had better fail in feeding and clothing his family 
as they should be than to fail to make them intelligent cit- 
izens and Christians. It is far better to be a beggar saint in 
rags, as Lazarus w T as, than a Dives in purple and fine linen 
and faring sumptuously every day. 

I taught my children as soon as they were able to learn 
the Lord's Prayer and other needful lessons in that line. 

The first great lesson I endeavored to impress upon their 
young minds was obedience. Without this useful lesson all 
other lessons would avail but little. It will not amount to 
anything to teach a boy honesty unless he will obey the in- 
struction. The proper way to teach obedience is to be pos- 
itive. I laid down certain rules as a guide for the conduct 
of my children, and made it clear and plain as to what would 
follow the violation of my rules. I do not remember of ever 
having failed to do whatever I promised my children. 


In this positive way I secured obedience. One ounce of 
positiveness is worth ten pounds of rod without it. 

I always tried to be free from anger when I corrected a 
child and did it in a business-like manner. As a rule I never 
told my children to do anything more than once. When 
the children once learn that you mean business when you 
speak to them there will be but little use for the rod in your 

My wife whipped the children more and harder than I, 
but they were less obedient to their mother, because she was 
less positive with them. I often told my wife that she talked 
too much to the children. 

Holloing at and threatening children with cruel punish- 
ment is both useless and foolish. If you are not positive 
storming seldom changes the child's mind, and to threaten 
with no intention of fulfilling is useless, and to carry out a 
foolish threat is wicked. 

The father being the head of the family, cannot delegate 
his authority to the mother, teacher, minister or anyone else, 
and if your child is in school, at church, hired out or any- 
where else, have it distinctly understood that he or she must 
give an account to you for whatever it does. I tried to make 
it very plain to my children that wherever they went they 
must behave themselves, and if they misbehaved anyw T here 
at any time I would settle with them for their bad conduct. 

I have no doubt that my children did some things which I 
did not wish them to do when out of my sight, things of 
which I never heard. But upon the whole I believed that 
they were prevented from doing things which they would 
have had cause to regret in after life by remembering that 
to do so would be contrary to their training and displeasing 
to their parents. 

I carefully taught my children that lying, swearing, steal- 
ing, drinking to excess, dishonesty and the use of tobacco 
were all wrong. My success attained in this line was admira- 
ble indeed, as all those who know my children can bear tes- 

I taught them the fear of the Lord by precept and exam- 
ple, and seven of the eight now living are professed followers 


of the Nazarene, and I still pray that the stray sheep may 
seek the fold of the Good Shepherd and be led into green 
pastures and beside the still waters of the river of life. 

The education of my children was a subject that gave me 
much thought and anxiety. Living in a slave State, where 
free children of color did not have schools to attend, shut the 
door which I most earnestly desired to have wide open to 
my children. This being the state of affairs in my native 
State, as I have stated in another place, I was anxious to 
move to a free State where I could educate my children. 

But I am thankful to be able to say that all of my children, 
except my oldest daughter, did have the privilege of attend- 
ing school some, and all learned to read and write. My son 
John, the oldest boy, attended school a few months in Car- 
roll county. The rest I sent to Libertytown in Frederick 
county during the winter months as I could make it con- 
venient to send them. They all made rapid progress while 
in school. My son Ignatius was going to school in Balti- 
more city when he was taken sick, and was home but a few 
days before his death. He had a good mind, and I believe 
he would have made a noble record had he lived long 
enough. One winter I employed a teacher in my home to 
teach my children, as it was cheaper than sending them 
away. Anthony Herald, a German boy, was the teacher 
thus employed. 

Mr. John Bowman, who taught a white school near where 
I lived a few years before the Rebellion, undertook to teach 
my boys at night, but was stopped by bad young white men, 
who would slip and fasten the schoolhouse door on the out- 
side and then stone the house. It was not an easy matter to 
try to have my boys and girls to learn just a little in the 
State of Maryland in ante-bellum days. 

My son Thomas, after getting the taste of knowledge that 
I was able to give him, worked his own way through col- 
lege and through the Theological School of the Boston Uni- 
versity. He is now a minister of the Gospel. Two of my 
daughters, Mary and Jane, have ministers for husbands, true 
and good men, who are trying to build up Christ's kingdom. 

Good and wise parents are everything to their children. 


Parents who do their duty must follow the Apostle Paul's 
injunction, "And ye fathers, provoke not your children to 
wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of 
the Lord/' 

I taught my children to be polite and mannerly to every- 
body. Manners will carry us where nothing else will. 


The Neighbor. 

The answer which Jesus drew from the lawyer who asked 
Him, "And who is my neighbor?" clearly states who is our 
neighbor. "He that showed mercy on him/' was the law- 
yers reply to Jesus' question, "Which now of these three, 
thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the 

I shall be guided by the light reflected from the lawyer's 
answer given to our Lord's most appropriate question. I 
always had a desire to live peaceably with all men, and as far 
as possible did so. I wanted to help all who needed aid as 
far as possible. Plence I was kind and obliging to all with 
whom I came in contact. I often put myself to great incon- 
venience in order to oblige others. Many times I have left 
my own work that should have been done to help my neigh- 
bors do theirs. 

I was a farmer, as were my neighbors, and to leave my 
crop to help with another man's was to his advantage as 
/ against mine. But such was the kindly feeling existing in 
me that I felt it a duty to deny myself for some one else. 

When it came to the division of the crop (for I farmed 
one-half for the other), the landlord always got the larger 
and best half. I believe it the better way to give away a part 
of my own than to take the smallest thing from anyone. If 
I erred I wanted to be on the safe side, and rather suffered 
loss myself than to cause some one else to lose. 

The principle of rightdoing was always uppermost in my 
mind. To live to the glory of God and for the good of others 
should be the aim of all men. Jesus came into the world, 


not to be ministered unto, but to minister to the poor and 
needy ones. In this "He hath left us an example that we 
should follow Hs steps." 

It was the Samaritan's ministering to the helpless and 
needy man who had fallen among thieves that clearly set 
forth his neighborly act, which called forth the reply of our 
Lord to the young lawyer's question. 

That reply not only caused the young man to think about 
what the word neighbor implies, but also to try to show him- 
self neighborly as opportunity might present itself. 

The world's idea of "Who is our neighbor?" is radically 
wrong. It aids those who are not in need, and, Levite and 
priestlike, turns away and passes by on the other side of 
those in distress and need. Many so-called good men will 
pamper the rich and starve the poor man. We are not only 
to help those who need help, but must help those most who 
need the most. 

Jesus did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to re- 

It is true that rich men, holding office and receiving large 
salaries from the same, often receive large gifts that come 
sometimes from persons who only know the recipient by 
reputation, while, at the same time, worthy poor, living 
nearby, are refused the crumbs from the tables of those rich 
givers to the rich. 

It is wonderfully strange to see wise and seemingly good 
men daily flying in the face of the plain teachings of the 
Saviour of men, and yet say they are His disciples. But let 
all such "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatso- 
ever a man sowetli, that shall he also reap." 

I never turned any from my door empty. I have kept per- 
sons in my house free of charge for weeks and months, and 
such as I had they received freely, and God has so blessed 
me that during a long life I have never been without some- 
thing to eat. 

I have a very wide circle of friends and acquaintances, and 
am glad to be able to say but a very few enemies. My aim 
has been to deal fairly and aboveboard with all persons, and 
although I have often been deceived, I can truthfully say I 


have never tried to deceive a man, woman or child with whom 
I ever came in contact. To be true to humanity is to be true 
to God. God is our Father, and all men are brothers. But 
as all brothers having the same mother are not true to each 
other, we could not expect all men to be true to their fellow- 
man. Sin and pride have taken possession of the hearts of 
men, and if gain must be had at the expense of brotherly 
kindness, brotherly kindness is set aside, and one man will 
strip another of his last dime in order to add to his sordid 
wealth, heaped up to his own destruction. Stolen grapes 
may be beautiful in their cluster, but their sourness often put 
the children's teeth on edge. 

The bane of wealth is the fact that it came largely through 
fraud and oppression, and to load down innocent children 
with such a weight of gold, silver, houses and lands, reeking 
with crime and groaning with corruption, is doubly heinous. 

I would rather leave nothing to my children than to be 
able to bequeath them ten millions of property and money 
wrongfully obtained from my neighbors. The honest, 
truthful, kind, merciful, generous and loving neighbor is 
"laying up treasures in heaven, where moth does not cor- 
rupt and thieves do not break through and steal." 

I must say a word here about my near neighbors, among 
whom I have lived, parents and children, for over fifty years. 

Most all of those neighbors all those years have been 
white people, and yet in almost every case I have been treated 
as one of them. I have eaten at their tables, and they have 
eaten at my table as one family. My troubles were their 
troubles ; my joys their joys. The longer we lived near each 
other the stronger the tie that bound us. 

Among my many country neighbors it gives me pleasure 
to mention such names as Mr. John Wise, Mr. John Beaver 
and his son Andrew, Mr. John Coleman, Mr. John Lockard 
and his son Joshua, Mr. Jacob Powder, Mr. Samuel Ogg, 
the widow 7 Murray and family, Mr. Aps Magee, Mr. Jacob 
Fringen, Mr. Joseph Turfle and Mr. William Turfle. I 
worked for most of them, and some of them worked for me, 
and our relations, almost without exception, were harmo- 
nious and neighborly. 


They did many favors and kindnesses for me that never 
will be forgotten. They trusted me when I did not have the 
money to pay them, and loaned me any amount I wished 
when I needed to borrow money or anything else. 

Mr. John Lockard came to my house twice in order to 
loan me $400 to pay a note that I was security for and that 
had become due while I was away from home and my prop- 
erty had been distressed for the money. He saw the adver- 
tisement of the sale of my property for the debt, and think- 
ing I did not have the money — which I did not have — he 
came over two miles to help me in the time of great need.. I 
was not at home the first time he came, and being informed 
when I would be at home, he came the second time without 
a word from me concerning the matter, and loaned me the 
money without giving him any security outside of a per- 
sonal note. 

Such a noble act of neighborly kindness should not be 
overlooked in these humble pages. 

I am very glad to be able to say that I was able to pay Mr. 
Lockard every dollar back, and although I never had the 
pleasure of returning the same kind of favor to him, if real 
gratitude from a loving heart is a suitable compensation he 
received that in a large measure. 

Many other generous favors which my good neighbors 
rendered unto me might be mentioned and be of interest to 
my readers, but as it was not the intention in writing this 
little book to rill its pages with the good deeds of other men, 
I shall close this chapter without further reference to the 
praiseworthy deeds of my old neighbors done in my behalf. 
On that great and final day, when the books shall be opened, 
all shall be made known and no secret shall be hid. 

A Farmer. 

When God made Adam He placed him in the Garden of 
Eden to dress and keep it. After the fall man was driven out 
of that lovely spot in shame and disgrace, and the command 


was, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou 
return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for 
dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return/' Ever since 
that wonderful event man has been, more or less, a tiller of 
the soil, and wherever this occupation is the most w T idely 
and wisely followed men are the most prosperous and happy. 

Farming is the most independent, healthy and happy vo- 
cation known among men. This is true, no doubt, because 
it was the first occupation given to man, and without which 
all would perish. While the Indians lived largely by hunting 
and fishing, yet they had their fields of corn, which they 
raised for bread, before America was discovered. 

While the table of the uncivilized is scantly supplied with 
food, because he has not learned the art of farming, the in- 
dustrious and skilled farmer's table groans under its load of 
good things — the rich, substantial and splendid reward of 
honest toil. 

If you want to live a happy life, just be a skillful farmer 
and marry a farmer wife. I w r as raised on a farm, and it was 
no more than natural that I should take to farming, with its 
multifold duties. 

For twelve years after I married I lived in the town of 
Westminister, but my work was not confined to the town, 
as I labored on different farms around Westminster, working 
by the day. As my children were growing up, I desired to 
raise them to work, and as town life for children tended to- 
ward idleness I concluded to leave town for the farm. I first 
moved on Mr. John Q. Miller's place, just outside of the cor- 
poration. After staying there a few years, I moved on Mr. 
George Trumbo's farm, two and one-half miles from West- 
minster. I lived there until he sold the place, or for eight 
years. The farm was poor, yet I managed to make a living 
for my large family. I found time to work for my neighbors, 
while my wife and boys did the home work. 

After Mr. Trumbo sold his place I moved on Mr. John 
Rindhart's farm, one mile below, and remained there seven 
years. This farm was in poor condition, but I and the boys 
went to work with a will to succeed. We cleared a consid- 
erable portion of woodland and swamps, and made the wil- 


derness blossom as the rose. Many times I worked till 9 or 
10 o'clock at night in order to get a piece of new ground 
ready for plowing and planting. I never cared to work with 
horses on the farm. I preferred the axe, the mattock, the 
hoe, the scythe, and so forth. 

In i860 I moved on my son-in-law's place, William Low- 
cry, near Westminster, and at, the same time I attended land 
for Mr. Thomas Van Bibber, on whose farm I finally moved, 
and remained there till 1864, the year the Washington Con- 
ference was organized. I was in the organization of that 
body, and that ended my farming career. 

As a farmer I have nothing of which I can boast in the line 
of great success. But this much I can say — that I always 
left the farm in a much better condition than I found it. My 
work seemed to be to put farms in order for other people to 
reap the benefit. I can call myself more of a pioneer farmer 
than a real tiller of the soil. Hence I never could get rich 
on a farm, save in the riches of contentment and happiness, 
the true wealth of man. 

I made a good living for myself and family, was satisfied 
with my lot, and felt that the blessings of God were upon 
me. More than that is not necessary. The tendency of our 
people today is tow r ard the large towns and cities. City life 
forebodes no good for the poor. It is destructive to health, 
home, good morals and happiness. While in the cities, espe- 
cially among the poor, suffering, want, vice and degradation 
hold sway, in the country all who are willing to obey the 
command, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread," 
can find a comfortable home, with full and plenty, peace, 
contentment and happiness. 

Many go to the cities because they are not willing to eat 
bread in the sweat of their face, but expect to obtain it in 
some mysterious way without sweating for it. I confess that 
some do seem to get bread in that way, for they do not work 
for it. We do not need large farms in order to make a com- 
fortable living. Twenty-five or thirty acres of fair land, well 
cultivated, will yield an abundant harvest for any ordinary 
family, and the owner will find plenty of time for reading, 
study, rest and pleasure with his family. No home can be 



made what it should be where the father does not and cannot 
spend a reasonable portion of his time in social intercourse 
with his family. This failure upon the part of many fathers 
has blighted and cursed many homes throughout this and 
other countries. 

Do not be allured to the cities by fairy tales of untold com- 
forts and happiness to be found in our cities. Did you ever 
stop to think wdio built the first city? Cain, the first mur- 
derer, built the first city, and thus he prepared a place where 
every conceivable sin in the catalogue of crime is being com- 
mitted every hour in the day — a place where the young peo- 
ple are being led into all sorts of crimes, as the sheep is led 
to the slaughter. 

The man that would have a happy home, a true and loving 
w T ife, good, industrious, honest and virtuous children should 
establish himself in the country on a farm of his own. If the 
home is ever so humble, and the farm ever so small, let it be 
your own. There is a home for every honest toiler if he will 
reach forth his hand for it. 

The woes pronounced by Jesus in the eleventh chapter of 
Matthew T , 20-24 verses, were upon the cities. Sodom and 
Gomorrah were destroyed because they were wholly given 
up to sin and crime. The same is true, in a large measure, of 
most of the large cities of the w T orld today. It is simply im- 
possible to collect great masses of people, of all races and 
classes, into the narrow 7 limits of the city without exposing 
them to the dangers of the evil-minded among them. We 
cannot take fire in our bosom without being burned. The 
bringing together of the people in large numbers breeds 
idleness, and idleness fosters crime. 

Although the farm was the place of my choice, yet I w T as 
more anxious to move to the country for the benefit and 
safety of my children than for the love of the farm. I con- 
sidered that the great advantage the farm offered of training 
my children how to work, and to have them away from the 
evil influences of city life, was of far more importance to me 
and my family than any mere personal consideration on my 
part. The man or woman who is forgetful of the best inter- 
ests and highest good of his or her children is not worthy of 


the name of a parent. Our people should establish them- 
selves firmly upon the farm, in their own name, and then en- 
deavor to make it like the Garden of Eden, the garden of 
the Lord, and God will bless the labors of their hands in the 
abundance of the fatness of the land. Plant for yourselves 
orchards and vineyards, broad fields of corn and wheat, and 
truck of all kinds ; raise your poultry and meat, butter and 
milk, and with these surroundings, comforts and happiness 
will flow like the onward rushing river that sparkles in its 
beautiful brightness. 

Ye strong, brawny-armed sons of my race, stick to the old 
farm, upon which all have to depend for bread. Till it wisely, 
willingly and gladly, and you will have nothing to fear from 
cold or heat, wet or dry, want and suffering. There is no ele- 
ment in the nation whom you need turn your back upon 
when it comes to working on the farm. We may not be able 
to compete with other men in the professions for many years 
to come. They have had a long start of us there, but we have 
been raised on the farm, and can successfully compete with 
any man there, other things equal. If the masses of our 
people stay in the country the few who might remain in the 
cities would get ready employment, with good wages. Sup- 
ply and demand regulates prices in all commercial transac- 

This word of advice here is given lovingly, sincerely and 
faithfully from one whose experience ought to be worth 
something if his learning is limited. I therefore hope and 
trust that my words may not fall wholly upon deaf ears, but 
may do much good as the truth doth the upright in heart. 


A Pedestrian. 

"With long travel I am stiff and weary," — Shakespeare. 

This statement has been true in my own case many times. 
I have traveled day and night till fatigue and sleepiness 
compelled me to lie down in the wood and mountains to get 
rest for my tired limbs and sleep for my eyelids. 


Dr. Buckley says, "The best way for an economical young 
man to travel is on foot." Someone has said, "A man can 
learn no more of the country than he can learn by going 
through it at the rate of three miles an hour, the rate of a 
person leisurely walking." I believed that to walk was the 
best way to travel when there was time to reach the point 
desired in that way, and the most of my life I have acted 
in accordance with that belief, and when it was convenient 
for me to ride I refused to do so, preferring to walk. I have 
traveled through parts of Delaware, Pennsylvania and the 
most of Maryland on foot, and the knowledge of the regions 
thus gone through has been made far more accurate and 
satisfactory than it would have been had I traveled at the 
rate of twenty or thirty miles an hour. 

When I was a young slave man and a very young preacher, 
my oldest brother, Nathan, who lived thirty miles from 
where I lived, made an appointment for me to preach in his 
neighborhood on a certain Sunday. I consented to fill the 
appointment at the time set. I worked all the week till Sat- 
urday night, expecting to hire a horse from a neighbor who 
had on other occasions let me have his horse. 

After I got my supper I went to engage the horse, but 
to my great surprise and perplexity the horse had been hired 
to another person. So what am I to do? was the next ques- 
tion. I hated the thought of disappointing my brother and 
the people w T ho might come out next day to hear me preach. 
Here let me say that I have ever since made it my aim never 
to disappoint anyone in any way if it could be avoided in 
any possible way. 

So I returned home, washed and dressed myself and 
started off Saturday night to tramp the thirty miles that lay 
between me and the appointed place of worship. I walked 
rapidly, and would trot going down the hills. When I got 
tired I would go off into the woods, lie down, rest and take 
a nap. But as that luxury could not be long indulged in, 
I was soon up and off again on my weary pilgrimage. At 
the place and hour appointed Sunday morning I was there 
ready to deliver the message I had from the Lord. After 
the services were over a white gentleman came to me and 


invited me to go home with him to take dinner. I did not 
care to go, as he lived three miles from the place of meeting 
in the opposite direction from my home. But as he urged 
me, I went and took dinner with him. I was then thirty- 
three miles from home. After dinner I started for home in 
company with my brother, who went a part of the way with 
me. I followed the same method of travel and of resting 
returning as I did going, and Monday morning found me 
at home ready to go to work for my old boss, having walked 
sixty-six miles in order to preach according to promise 
and to try to do good and to be at my post of duty ready to 
obey my owner's call. I think that was a feat worthy to be 
mentioned here. 

I have walked from Westminster to Mount Savage, be- 
yond Cumberland, Md., a distance of more than one hun- 
dred and fifty miles, to see my brothers, who lived there, 
and returned on foot. In making that journey I walked 
four miles an hour for sixteen miles one day, keeping the 
distance by the milestones on the turnpike and the time by 
my watch. 

I stopped at a tavern one evening quite late to stay all 
night, but the persons I found stopping there were drink- 
ing and so noisy and profane that I concluded that was not 
a suitable place for me to stay. So I went off into the moun- 
tains, and with a stone for my pillow, the heavens above me 
for a covering, I lay myself down in peace to rest that re- 
freshing sleep might bring strength to the body for the con- 
tinued journey of the next day. 

I have walked to Baltimore and back more than once to 
meet the Baltimore Conference, and was ordained both 
deacon and elder in that Conference, years before the Wash- 
ington Conference was organized. The distance from West- 
minster was twenty-eight miles. 

During the forty odd years of my ministry before the 
Washington Conference came into being I preached at Get- 
tysburg and Carlisle, Pa. ; Frederick city, Liberty, Mount 
Olive, Fairview, Uniontown, Taneytown, Poole's School- 
house, Piney Grove, Reisterstown, Hampstead, Manchester 
and many other places in Maryland, and almost invariably 


made the journeys on foot. Most every Sunday for a greater 
part of the year I had some place at which to preach. I 
labored hard all the week on the farm and walked and 
preached Sunday without any money consideration what- 

I joined the Washington Conference at its organization 
in October, 1864, and was in active service for sixteen years, 
and over twelve of those years were spent on circuits having 
from three to seven points. I never had a horse to travel my 
circuit, yet I made the round once in three and four weeks, 
preaching two and three times a Sunday, and walked from 
eight to twelve miles. I traveled Harford circuit in Balti- 
more county after I was seventy-five years old. It con- 
tained seven points. I preached at two points each Sunday 
for three Sundays in each month. The other point was so 
far to one side of the circuit that I spent the whole day there 
when I got round to it. 

Young men who have followed me had a horse and car- 
riage to travel in. Walking is a most healthy exercise, and 
those who walk from three to six miles every day will keep 
in good health. Walking is also a cheap mode of travel, and 
those young men who travel circuits and do not get much 
money will find it a great deal cheaper to walk to their ap- 
pointments than it is to buy a horse, feed and care for 
him. I think you will find it easier to foot the journey than 
to foot the horse bills. Try it, and let experience be your 

While traveling the earthly journeys which have made me 
many times "stiff and weary" I have been traveling the way 
of everlasting life, and in this journey I have never grown 
tired nor weary. My pilgrimage will soon end, and I ex- 
pect to land safe at home where Jesus is. 

When I felt badly I would note the feelings, and from ex- 
perience 1 learned what remedy I needed to relieve me of that 
feeling. The house had commenced to lean a little to one 
side, and a small prop set it all right again. One ounce of 
prevention is worth ten pounds of cure. 

If I have said anything in this chapter that will arouse the 
reader and make him a more careful student of nature's 


true remedies I shall deem it a reward for writing these lines 
on this subject. 

It is for the benefit of mankind that I write this little 
book, and he who helps his fellow-man does the will of Him 
that sent him, the Great Physician of the souls of men. Sin 
is the greatest disease that afflicts men, and all are more or 
less troubled with sin. 

Jesus is the only sin doctor in the world, but He never 
fails to cure all who take the remedy prescribed. Reader, 
have you taken the Saviour's prescription? If not, take it, 
look and live. 


A Knowledge of Medicines. 

I have already mentioned the fact that while a slave I pre- 
pared various kinds of oils and drops and sold them in order 
to make money to buy myself. "Necessity is the mother of 
invention," but in my own case it was the mother of a phy- 
sician. I made and sold my remedies at a very low price, 
and took care of the pennies and the dollars took care of 

I do not profess to have any great skill in the art of heal- 
ing, yet I have effected some great cures. My son Joseph 
was given up by Dr. Payne to die. I took him in hand, and, 
by the help of the Lord, cured him. I have also cured a 
number of cases of the thrush that doctors failed to cure. 

The mouth water which I made for many years was a sure 
cure of all cases of the thrush. Had I put that remedy on the 
market I might have made money out of it. I never studied 
medicine from books, but gave a good deal of attention to 
the study of plants and herbs, and learned to recognize them 
readily and how to use many of them for medicinal purposes. 
After I once saw a plant or herb, and learned its name and 
how to use it, I never forgot it. 

My white neighbors often sent to me for medicines. Had 
I been permitted to have taken a regular course in medicine 
I believe I might have made a good doctor. 


I have done what doctors do not usually do — attended my- 
self. I have never had a doctor to attend me in eighty-three 
years; yet during those years I have had sickness, and at one 
time I had the fever and expected to die from the effects of it. 
I usually attended my children when sick, and never had a 
doctor for one unless the child was very sick. There is no 
doubt in my mind that most of the cases where doctors are 
called in they are not needed. 

Strong medicines weaken the system instead of building it 
up. Many of the pains and aches which we are heirs to can 
be removed by some simple remedy if we but take it in time. 
Doctors are good and are needful in certain cases, but in 
most cases they are a useless and expensive luxury, and 
should be enjoyed by the rich, who should divide their liv- 
ing with the poor doctors. 

Every man who has an honorable profession should have 
the chance to make an honest living if he is skilled in his 
calling. But the poor should not needlessly divide their 
scanty income with the professional man. The rich, who 
always want their whims satisfied, can afford to send for a 
doctor when they feel just a little badly from overeating or 
some other indulgence, and thus give him a good living. 

Every housewife and every man should have some knowl- 
edge of medicines. A little skill in this direction will save a 
great amount of misery, the loss of valuable time and many 
dollars that might greatly help in building up the home. 

The slave mothers and fathers had quite a good deal of 
medical knowledge — much more than the present generation 
has. No doubt this came from the fact that many of the 
slaves had to be their own doctors in most cases. Necessity 
compelled them to study the use of herbs and roots in order 
to effect cures. Instead of laying aside this practice or cus- 
tom of our foreparents, and depending upon the medical 
doctor, as many have done, we should aim to know more 
about herbs and simple remedies — how to make the right ap- 
plication at the right time. Such knowledge would prove a 
great blessing to every household in the land, a source of 
comfort and delight to its possessors, joy and gladness to 
the needy poor, and a star of hope to the discouraged soul. 


My knowledge of simple remedies has been of great advan- 
tage to me in many respects. While I have saved many dol- 
lars in doctors' bills and medicines, and much suffering by 
taking timely preventives, at the same time it enabled me to 
keep a strong and vigorous body, which fitted me for the 
double work of my life — of laboring on the farm six days in 
the week and to walk and preach the Gospel on Sunday. 

If we will w T isely use the opportunities we may have for 
gaining this needed information, as a rule, each one could 
care for his own health better than anyone else. The fact 
that we take different diseases is found in that other great 
fact that the body was in a weak and debilitated condition 
when seized by the malady. Keep the blood pure and the 
body will keep vigorous, and a vigorous body will repel all 
attacks from its great foe, sickness. 


The Itinerant and Revivalist. 

"Glad to turn itinerant, 
To stroll and teach from town to town." 

The first Methodist preacher in America traveled circuits 
that extended from county to county and from State to State 
in order to preach the word of life to dying men. Distance 
was no bar to their preaching, although the traveling was by 
foot or on horseback. Those noble pioneers of Methodism 
wrought nobly in their wide fields for God and the right. 

The impression made upon my young heart and mind by 
the itinerant was that he was a man sent of God to preach 
His word. 

I was not an itinerant preacher in the sense that the term 
is generally used till 1864, but according to the primary 
meaning of the term I was an itinerant for over forty years 
before I joined the Conference. 

It may not be amiss to say a little more concerning my 
travels and preaching in this place, although I have given a 
brief account in the tenth chapter. I shall repeat some of 


my account of my travels as stated in that chapter because 
they naturally come under the head of "The Itinerant." The 
place where I went to preach while a slave, as stated in the 
tenth chapter, was Middle River, Anne Arundel county, 
Maryland. The white gentleman who invited me to dine 
with him was Mr. Eagleland, who lived three miles below 
where I preached. He was very kind and talkative, and I 
enjoyed his company as well as my dinner. 

While a slave I preached many times at Bloom's Mills, 
Baltimore county, Maryland. I went to Frederick City, 
Md., twice while in bondage to preach, walking there and 
back, a distance of fifty-two miles, round trip. I often w y ent 
to Liberty in Frederick county, Maryland, preached and re- 
turned the same day, traveling twenty-eight miles in the 

Having bought myself, I left my old boss, Mr. Elisha 
Bennett, the last day of December, 1830, and started to 
travel and to preach as a free man in soul and body. I went 
through Anne Arundel county, Maryland, to Baltimore city ; 
from there to Harford county, visiting Abingdon, Bush and 
Havre-de-Grace ; from thence to Elkton in Cecil county, 
preaching at each as best I could the Gospel of peace. From 
thence I went to the State of Delaware. I spent several 
days in Wilmington in order to declare the message of sal- 
vation. I passed on through Delaware to Pennsylvania and 
preached in Old Chester, West Chester and Strawsburg. 
Here I met with an infidel, and after a long contest I got the 
better of him in the argument. 

The Rev. Levi Scott, afterward Bishop Scott, was 
preacher in charge at West Chester. He kindly invited me 
to preach for his people. I gladly accepted the invitation, 
being willing, as best I could, to declare the truth as it is in 
Jesus to all men who would hear me. 

I was very kindly entertained by Brother Scott. I found 
him to be a true Christian gentleman, kind and as tender 
as a child, a warm-hearted, noble-minded, God-fearing man. 
I never was treated more kindly than he treated me, making 
me feel perfectly at home in his house. 

I next stopped at a Mr. Batton's, and he invited me to 


preach at his church. Here I met with a very rare thing, a 
colored infidel. I invited him to the church to hear me 
preach. He came and listened attentively, and was soundly 
converted. I had a long conversation with him before he 
attended preaching. I think it is safe to say that there are 
but few colored infidels in this or any other Christian land, 
and those who profess infidelity are trying to ape some white 
man who either does not believe what he professes or does 
not know what he believes. The so-called infidel calls upon 
God's name in vain more than most Christians do in rev- 

Would a sane man call on something that he believed did 
not exist? I think not. 

I next went to Lancaster, where I preached several times. 
From Lancaster I went to Columbia, and from there to 
Philadelphia ; then back to Old Chester, where I took a boat 
for Baltimore, and from Baltimore I walked to Westmin- 
ister, arriving there the 1st of May. I traveled and preached 
continuously for four months. For that labor I received no 
pay in money consideration, but a rich reward from the 
presence of the Lord. 

Anne Arundel county, Montgomery county, Baltimore 
county, Frederick county, Howard county and Carroll 
county, Maryland, composed a part of my circuit which I 
have traveled for so many years. I also preached at Gettys- 
burg, Pa., regularly for sixteen or eighteen years, walking 
there and back, a distance of forty-eight miles. 

Somewhat like the Master, who "went about doing good," 
although a despised Nazarene, I, belonging to a despised 
race, not because we were raised in the wicked city Naza- 
reth, but because we were raised up under the most wicked 
system ever instituted — American slavery — went about try- 
ing to do good unto all men with whom I came in contact. 

"Your words revive my drooping thoughts ; 
Your coming, friends, revives me." 

Some define the word "revivalist" as a preacher who has 
no particular charge, one who preaches at no particular 


place. The truer and deeper meaning of the word is one 
who stirs up persons who are dead in sins and trespasses to 
a life of righteousness, one who can stir up the sleeper and 
cause him to seek the quickening power of the Holy Ghost 
by the preaching of the Gospel, by presenting a present, 
complete and only Saviour in such a way as to convince 
many of the wickedness of sin and the necessity of forsak- 
ing it at once. Whether I can claim the title of a revivalist 
according to the above definition the following facts will 
determine : 

During my early ministry a Mrs. Finehour heard that I, 
"a nigger/' was to preach near her home on Sunday, and she 
said, ".I am going to hear him in order to have some fun." 
Sure enough, at the appointed time she drove up in her car- 
riage near the stand to listen to what I might have to say, 
anticipating, no doubt, a good time in her way of thinking. 
While I delivered the sermon she was convinced that she 
was a sinner, and declared that she had never heard a man 
preach as I did. The word of the Lord, by the aid of the 
Holy Spirit, had found its way to a proud and sinful heart, 
and confession was made. 

I might give accounts of the many revivals I have held 
and helped to hold up until the organization of the Wash- 
ington Conference in 1864, but I shall not go back over that 
time in detail. To sum it up in a word, I conducted pro- 
tracted meetings in Westminster, my home, for many years 
annually, and many souls were converted in those meetings. 

I held and assisted in holding similar meetings at Fair- 
view, Mount Olive, Uniontown, Manchester, Hampstead, 
Poole's Schoolhouse and other places, where many souls 
found peace and rest in Jesus. Revs. Singleton Hughes, 
William Tascoe, Richard Hall, Oliver Randall, Samuel 
Thompson, Isaac Dotson and other local ministers co-ope- 
rated with me in these revivals or protracted meetings. We 
held camp-meetings at Piney Grove, Miller's Woods, and 
bush-meetings in many places, where the Lord owned the 
labors of His servants in the conversion of many sinners 
to Jesus. 

In 1865 I was invited by the Rev. Mr. Macelfresh, who was 


holding a camp-meeting in Montgomery county, Maryland, 
to come over and preach to the crowds of colored people 
that attended his meetings. I accepted the invitation and 
preached to large numbers of my people. In October I re- 
turned to the same place and held a bush-meeting, and one 
hundred and two souls professed conversion. 

In 1866 I was stationed at Dallas street, Baltimore, and 
during the Conference year of less than six months (the time 
of meeting was changed from October to March) fifty-four 
persons were converted, and the next year one hundred and 
three professed faith in Christ. 

In 1875 I was on Govanstown circuit near Baltimore. Mr. 
Nicholas Bulle, a white gentleman who lived near Govans- 
town and had been in distress about his soul's salvation for 
ten years, concluded that there was no salvation for him. 
He came to my meetings, heard me preach twice, and was 
convinced that there was still salvation for him. He and 
two of his brothers were happily converted. I have a stand- 
ing invitation to preach in his grove whenever I wish. 

I met a Mr. Waltz of Frederick county, Maryland, in 
1865 while traveling the Jefferson circuit. In our conversa- 
tion he said he was in favor of the colored man being free, 
but was not in favor of him having equal civil and political 
rights, because he belonged to an inferior race. But I con- 
vinced him from the Bible that he was mistaken, that "God 
hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all 
the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before 
appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;" ''That God 
is no respecter of persons ; but in every nation he that feareth 
Him and worketh righteousness is accepted with Him.'' 
Being thus convinced of his mistake and convicted of sin, 
he asked me to pray with and for him. I did so, and then 
and there he was converted and made happy in the Lord. 
I then, by his request, baptized two of his children and three 
children for a German neighbor of his. A Mr. Blizzard, 
white, who had heard me preach before his conversion, rode 
ten miles after his conversion to get me to baptize him. I 
was not at home the first time he came, so he came the sec- 
ond time, and I baptized him. 


Much more could be said in this place that might be of 
interest to the reader, but as I did not intend to try to give 
a complete history of my life, this sketch of my itinerant and 
revival work is in accordance with the scope of the book. 
This book is not for my aggrandizement, but simply to en- 
courage others who may chance to read these lines to put 
forth greater efforts in the Master's vineyard, humbly trust- 
ing Him for guidance in the way he should go. 

It is a great thing to learn willingly to follow where Jesus 
leads. The great aim of my life has been to do that which 
would be well pleasing to God. If I can claim any success 
in my ministry at all, it is due to the fact that I was doing the 
Lord's work and not mine own. Thus, being about a great 
work, I could not come down for praise, money or any- 
thing else. To God be all the glory! 


A Defender of the Bible and Faith. 

"And be ready always to give an answer to every man that 
asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness 
and fear." 

From a boy I have had the greatest faith in the Bible. My 
view of this book may be called literalistic, but I do not ap- 
prove of the literal interpretations placed upon it by men of 
that class simply to prove their peculiar notions regarding 
the Scriptures. The great apostle said, "I have fought with 
beasts at Ephesus," and I think I may use his statement as 
applicable to myself. 

About the year 1844 I had a controversy with Mr. Jacob 
Floore of Salem, Ohio. He was an infidel. Mr. John Wise, 
my near neighbor and a Roman Catholic, arranged the meet- 
ing for us. Before we entered upon the controversy I said 
to Mr. Floore that he and I were strangers, and that I would 
not enter into an argument with him without first making 
an agreement as to how we should proceed. I proposed that 
he should state his side or argument, and I would listen to 


him without interruption ; then I was to have the same privi- 
lege to present my side. He agreed to my terms, and Mr. 
Wise was witness to the same. 

Mr. Floore commenced by saying: "There is no God, hell 
or heaven, and, hence, no hereafter. When man dies he is 
annihilated, and there is no more of him. There is no such 
thing as a resurrection of the dead. Man and everything 
else came into being by the forces of nature." He continued 
for some time in the same line of argument to try to prove 
that there is no God. I suppose he succeeded according to 
his notions. When my turn came I replied: "There is a 
God, who rules the heavens and the earth; who said, 'Let- 
there be light, and there was light. And the evening and the 
morning were the first day. And God saw the light, that it 
was good.' At first you see a small cloud in the west : then 
it becomes larger and larger until it covers the heavens : the 
lightning flashes, the thunder roars, and by these forces the 
strongest trees are dashed to pieces, and rocks are rent asun- 
der: the rain comes down and waters the earth, that causes 
it to yield its fruits in their season. Who is it that does all 
this? It is the God that rules the universe, who brought all 
nature into existence, and makes her do His bidding. What 
was nature before the Spirit of God moved upon her? Who 
is it that causes hurricanes to sweep over the earth, uproot- 
ing trees and destroying everything in their track? And 
when the storm is raging with great fury and makes the 
ocean billows roll mountain high, who is it that says, 'Peace, 
be still/ and there is a great calm? Xo one, sir, but the 
Eternal God, who rules and governs all things." I went on 
and proved from the Bible that there will be a resurrection 
of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust. Mr. Wise, 
who was witness and judge, said: 

"Mr. Floore, the old gentleman is too hard for you." 

He acknowledged his defeat, but said: 

"You ought to be thankful for what nature has aone for 
you. You are far superior to your race and also 10 thousands 
of the whites. You ought to go to Salem, Ohio, where there 
is a number of your race who are doing well." 

I replied : "Air. Floore, I am truly thankful to the great 


God of Nature, who made me just what I am. I know that 
what little knowledge I have came from Him, who is the 
one Eternal God, Maker and Preserver of all things, visible 
and invisible.' 7 

About 1846 Father Crutal, the Catholic priest of West- 
minster, came to my house to argue the question of which 
is the true church. I met him very friendly and kindly. He 
began the argument by saying: 

"Don't you know, my friend, that the Holy Catholic 
Church is the only true church, and was ordained by our 
Saviour, who said to Peter, 'Thou art Peter, and upon this 
rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not 
prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the 
kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth 
shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose 
on earth shall be loosed in heaven?' And don't you know, 
my dear friend, that St. Peter was the first pope, and that 
none outside the Catholic Church can be saved?" 

I said to him: "I did not know that Peter was the first 
pope, or that he was the rock upon which the church was 
built. There was no pope in the apostolic church, and Christ 
was the Rock upon which the church was built. You say 
that the Holy Roman Catholic Church was the first church, 
and that none without its pales can be saved. Where was 
that church planted? Was it at Rome, or Jerusalem?" 

To these questions he would give no answer. Then he 
asked me if I knew what the word catholic meant. I told him 
I did; that it means universal. He said, "That is correct." 
He asked me, 

"What w T as the first church called, then, if not the Roman 
Catholic Church?" 

I replied, "The Church of the Disciples, and the disciples 
were first called Christians at Antioch. The early church 
was not called by any of the names now used by the different 

I then asked him, "What constitutes a church — the walls 
which make the building, or the true believers?" I then gave 
him Scripture proof that the believers composed the church: 
"If thy brother will not hear thee, tell it to the church," etc. 


I then asked him, "What were the keys given to Peter?" He 
would not say what they were. I said they were knowledge, 
power and wisdom, and quoted the twenty-third chapter of 
Matthew as proof of my statement. "If the Holy Roman 
Catholic Church is the only true church, and none can be 
saved outside of its pales, where did the hundred and forty 
and four thousand come from that John saw? You say that 
our Saviour went to that part of hell called limbo. I deny it." 

"Where was he then?" asked the good father. 

I said, "In paradise, for He said to the thief upon the cross, 
'This day shalt thou be with Me in paradise.' We do not 
believe in a purgatory. This earth is a place of purgatory, 
and he who is not purged from his sins here will never be 
purged." I quoted Scripture to prove my statements, but 
he did not want me to do so, "for," said he, "Martin Luther 
has corrupted over 200 passages in his translation." I denied 
that statement. But as we use King James' version, and not 
Luther's, I quoted from our Bible and compared the pas- 
sages with his Bible, and we found the slight differences in 
the wording immaterial. I stated the fact that the Christian 
Church was first planted in Jerusalem on the day of Pente- 
cost, when 3000 souls were added to it, and cited Scripture 
as proof of this view. The Roman Catholic Church may be 
dated from the second century, but I believe it took its dis- 
tinct form in the early part of the fourth century, under Con- 
stantine the Great. 

I might give account of other controversies had at differ- 
ent times with opponents of the Bible and the Christian re- 
ligion, but I do not deem it necessary. What I have done in 
this way I did it for the cause of Christ, and not to bring 
praise to me. To God be all the glory. I have been but an 
instrument in His hand for the accomplishment of some lit- 
tle good among men. We can do nothing without His aid, 
but we can do all things needful through the strength and 
grace of Jesus, our Advocate, Guide, Counselor and ever- 
lasting portion. 

The following sermon was preached by me when twenty- 
six years old, a slave and uneducated: 

Jeremiah 9: 1-2: "Oh that my head were waters, and 


mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and 
night for the slain of the daughter of my people! Oh that 
I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men, 
that I might leave my people and go from them, for they be 
all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men." 

This man of God, seeing that the church had gone away 
from the living God, was grieved. Therefore he breaks out 
in the language of the text, "Oh that my head were waters," 
etc. The daughter mentioned in the text is the Jewish 
Church which the Lord had brought out of the land of 
Egypt, out of the house of bondage. He was with His 
church forty years in the wilderness. He bore with their 
ill-manners all that time, and at the expiration of the forty 
years He caused the Jordan to roll back, as He did the Red 
sea, and they crossed over into the land of Canaan. After the 
death of Moses, the great prophet and leader, who had led 
the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, Joshua be- 
came their leader. Before Moses led his people from Egypt 
he showed many signs and wonders, such as turning the 
water into blood and bringing forth divers kinds of insects, 
as flies, lice, locusts and frogs, the murrain of beasts, etc. 
But Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord that I should obey 
Him?" Then the Lord said, "I w T ill smite thee, mighty 
Egypt, and let him know that I am the Lord, and with a 
high hand and with an outstretched arm I will bring My peo- 
ple out." So the Lord smote the first-born in Egypt, both 
of man and beast. Then Pharaoh called for Moses and 
Aaron in the night and said to them, "Get you up and be- 
gone, with your children, herds and flocks, and bless me 
before you go." 

The reason Pharaoh consented to leave them go was be- 
cause the Lord sent the destroying angel and smote the 
first-born in Egypt, of both man and beast. 

Then Pharaoh got alarmed when the cry of death was 
heard at midnight in all the land. Then he called for Moses 
and Aaron, and told them to go, but wanted them to bless 
him before they left. Exod. 10: 28, 29: "And Pharaoh said 
unto him, Get thee from me; take heed to thyself; see my 
face no more, for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt 


die. And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well. I will see thy 
face again no more." 

But, notwithstanding, when the cry of death was in all the 
land of Egypt he called for the man of God to come and see 
him and bless him and then depart, with all his people and 
their substance. So Moses obeyed God and commanded the 
children of Israel to kill a lamb for every family and take the 
blood and sprinkle the doorposts with it, for the destroying 
angel shall come tonight to destroy the first-born in every 
house where there is no blood. The children of Israel 
obeyed, ate the Passover that night and departed next morn- 
ing. That was in the month of Abib. 

After the children of Israel departed, Pharaoh pursued 
after them with 600 chariots and all his hosts, and as he drew 
near to them the Israelites were afraid and began to mur- 
mur against Moses. But he said, "Stand still and see the sal- 
vation of the Lord: the Egyptians whom you see today you 
shall see them again no more forever. The Lord shall fight 
for you, and ye shall hold your peace." 

And Moses stretched out his hand over the Red Sea, and 
the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all 
that night, and made the sea dry land. The waters being thus 
divided, the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea 
upon dry land. The water was a wall unto them, upon their 
right and upon their left. When the Israelites got over on 
the other side God told Moses to stretch out his hand over 
the sea, and the waters came together again and drowned 
Pharaoh and his army. Then the people sang, "Our God is 
a man of war." Let me quote Exod. 14: 30, 31 : "Thus the 
Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, 
and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the seashore. And 
Israel saw the great work which the Lord did upon the 
Egyptians, and the people feared the Lord and believed the 
Lord and His servant Moses." 

In the fifteenth chapter of Exod. 1, 2, we have these words: 
'Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto 
the Lord and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for 
He hath triumphed gloriously ; the horse and his rider hath 
He thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my 


song, and He is become my salvation. He is my God, and 
I will prepare Him an habitation; my father's God, and I 
will exalt Him." 

O wondrous knowledge, deep and high! Where shall a 
creature hide? Beneath the shadow of Thy wing! Yet not- 
withstanding the many wonders and signs the Lord had 
wrought by His servants, Moses and Aaron, some of the Is- 
raelites rebelled while in the wilderness. The leading men 
in the rebellion were Korah, Dathan and Abiram. "These 
men, led of 250 princes of the assembly, famous in the con- 
gregation, men of renown." For these facts I refer you to 
the sixteenth chapter of Numbers. Read the whole chapter 
and become like the people of Berea in St. Paul's day, who 
searched the Scriptures daily. Acts 17: 10, 11. 

However, the Lord was ever mindful of His people, and 
was with them in the wilderness forty years, and fed them 
with bread and quails from heaven. At the expiration of the 
forty years He brought them over the river Jordan and 
planted them, as a nation, in the land of Canaan, a land that 
flowed with milk and honey. The Lord enabled them to 
subdue seven nations. While they obeyed the Lord no na- 
tion could conquer them. 

For over 400 years they were governed by judges and 
elders. But now they desired a king, and the Lord was dis- 
pleased; yet He gave them a king. A long time after the 
death of Saul, their first king, Jeremiah prophesied unto 
them, the Lord having sent him to teach them the good old 
way, saying unto them: "Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in 
the ways and see, and ask for the paths, where is the good 
way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. 
But they said. We will not walk therein." 

This man of God saw the awful condition of the church 
and people, that they had forsaken the Lord and gone into 
idolatry and served other gods. Therefore the Lord inspired 
this man and sent him to warn them of their danger, and he 
preached to them early and late, telling them plainly of the 
great dangers to which they were exposed, and if they would 
repent and return to the Lord He would forgive them, heal 
all their backslidings and love them freely. But they would 


not repent. Therefore the prophet broke out in the language 
of the text: "Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes 
a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the 
slain of the daughter of my people." 

This man of God was grieved on account of the sins of the 
people, and cried out, desiring his head to be waters, that he 
might weep day and night for the slain of the Jewish Church, 
which he called "the daughter of my people." Had they 
taken his counsel they would not have been led away into 
captivity. But instead of receiving his advice, they put the 
man of God in prison the second time; yet God was w T ith him 
there. But the Chaldean army came and demolished Jeru- 
salem and carried the people away captives to Babylon, 
where they remained for seventy years. 

Then they cried unto the Lord, and He heard them and 
answered, and reinstalled them, as a nation, in the land of 
promise, a church and people, on account of their repentance 
and true faith, as stated in 126th Psalm: "When the Lord 
turned again the captivity of Zion we were like them that 
dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter and our 
tongue with singing ; then said they among the heathen. The 
Lord hath done great things for them. The Lord hath done 
great things for us; whereof we are glad. Turn again our 
captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south. They that 
sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weep- 
eth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with 
rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." 

Thus the servant of God went forth, weeping, bearing 
seed (the word of God). He continued to preach to that 
people, persuading them to turn to the living God and He 
would pardon all their sins and heal their backslidings and 
love them freely as He did when they returned. 

While captives, according to 137th Psalm, they sang, "By 
the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down; yea, we wept when 
we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the wil- 
lows in the midst thereof." 

Again they sang, "The Lord hath done great things for us, 
whereof we are glad. Turn again our captivity as the 
streams in the south."- They evidently repented, and the 


Lord forgave them and turned them back to their native 
land, where they rebuilt Jerusalem, beautified Mount Zion, 
and there worshipped the living and true God as heretofore, 
enjoyed their religious rites and political functions as before. 

Then the Jews, as a nation, swayed the scepter until Shi- 
loh came, as Jacob had said: "The scepter shall not depart 
from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between His feet until Shi- 
loh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people 
be." This Shiloh is the Lord Jesus Christ, and all the 
prophets foretold His coming. 

So in the fullness of time He came and preached the Gos- 
pel to that nation. Yet they would not accept Him, not- 
withstanding the many miracles He did, healing many of 
them. Yet they would not receive Him. "He came unto 
His own and they received Him not, but as many as received 
Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, 
even to them that believed on His name/' 

In about seventy years after He came the Jews were de- 
stroyed as a nation, and they are not a nation today, and will 
not be unless they repent and believe the Gospel. Notwith- 
standing the hardness of the hearts of the scribes and Phari- 
sees, many of the Jews did repent and believe the Gospel. 
In one day — the day of Pentecost — 3000 souls were added 
to the church, being saved by repentance and faith in the 
Lord Jesus Christ. That was the happy result of apostolic 
preaching — Jesus and the resurrection. Acts 2: 36-39: "Oh 
the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge 
of God; how 7 unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways 
past finding out." 

No wonder the apostle St. Paul said, "Without controversy 
great is the mystery of godliness. God was manifest in the 
flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the 
Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." 

This glorious Gospel is the power of God unto salvation 
to everyone that believeth. 

Brethren, may the Great Head of the church enable us to 
preach a whole Gospel and warn sinners to repent, that they 
may live with God in heaven when done with the world. May 
God grant this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 




The Head of the Family. 

My father was the head of the family in the fullest meaning 
of that term, and he never delegated his power or authority 
to anyone. While he was always desirous to have mother 
to co-operate with him in the training of the children, yet he 
never allowed her to assume his responsibilities and to per- 
form his duty in any respect. 

He believed that the mother had very important duties to 
perform which should be done very thoroughly and 
promptly, but what the mother did could not relieve the father 
of his work of carefully and prayerfully guiding the children 
in the way that they should go. 

Mother so well understood the position that father occu- 
pied and claimed as his exclusive right in the family that she 
many times refused to correct us when we disobeyed father's 
rules in his absence, and would simply say, "I will tell your 
father when he comes home tonight." 

I shall never forget one of those times when my brother 
Nathan and I were concerned in the killing of a favored cat 
that had spoiled a peck of corn we had shelled for hominy. 
I carried the cat up in the woods and threw her down. 
Nathan came after me with our dog Kaizer and asked me 
where the cat was. I told him and started for the house. 
He and the dog ran after the cat and ran her up a tree. 
Nathan climbed the tree, shook the cat down, and Kaizer 
killed her. When father came home mother told -him, ac- 
cording to promise, that we boys had killed the old white 
cat, and gave him all the particulars concerning the tragedy. 
After supper was over — and you can rest assured that there 
were two individuals whose appetites had lost their sharp- 
ness when called to supper — father got himself a long, lim- 
ber rod and took his position in the center of the kitchen 


and called us out. The band began to play; my brother 
blew the big horn and I the little one, and we started off on 
the march while father played on both drums. When father 
finished playing we stopped marching in double-quick time, 
but kept the music going for some time. 

To the best of my remembrance I have never had any- 
thing to do with killing a cat since. I do not like cats now, 
but if you want one killed, please excuse me. I am not in 
the business now. 

When any of us children were hired out father made the 
bargain with the understanding that if that child misbe- 
haved he w r as to be informed so that he could correct the 
wrongdoer. He did not allow anyone who employed his 
children to beat and knock them about. 

When I went to live with Mrs. Annie Fisher of Westmin- 
ster, now Mrs. Annie Maulsbury, among the things father 
told her I was not allowed to do, one was not to use to- 
bacco. But like most boys of my age, fourteen years old, 
I wanted to be a man, and thought that smoking made a 
man. So one night I went out and bought a cigar and tried 
to smoke it. I did not make a complete success of it. On 
going in Miss Annie opened the door for me and imme- 
diately smelt the effects of my smoking, and said, "Thomas, 
you have been smoking, and I am going to tell your father." 
That threat scared all of the smoking out of me, and from 
that night till the present I have never had a cigar or other 
tobacco in my mouth. 

My brother John learned to chew and smoke both before 
he was a man, the only boy of us who did learn. My mother 
knew of it, having made the discovery while mending his 
pockets and finding tobacco crumbs in them. But for some 
unaccountable reason she never told father about it. Many 
mothers are to blame for the bad habits of their children be- 
cause they know of the habits and yet keep them hid from 
the father. A mother's indulgence has ruined many a 
child that might have done well. 

We were not allowed to draw our wages. Father always 
attended to that item of the business. I am glad that it was 
so. Parents who permit their children to draw their wages 


usually allow them to spend the same to suit themselves, 
and from that early-formed habit the desire to spend grows 
till the thought of saving is out of the question. Habits 
formed while young become permanent. 

We children w r ere not allowed to sit at the table with 
father and mother until we were old enough to know how 
to properly conduct ourselves. Father was a very parti- 
cular man, and would not have children crying, coughing, 
dipping their fingers in the victuals and messing over his 
table while he was eating. 

To my mind a better rule in that direction could not have 
been adopted. Careful and clean parents will not sit their 
little children at the table to eat while they eat. 

Father did not allow us to make unnecessary noise in the 
house or anywhere else. He was a great reader, and during 
the rough wintry weather and stormy days at other seasons 
he would spend the time in reading and studying. We were 
permitted to engage in our youthful amusements and to 
have a good time in a quiet way. Sometimes we would 
forget ourselves and get noisy, but father would politely re- 
mind us of our thoughtlessness by clearing his throat or 
gently tapping the floor with his foot till he caught our eye, 
then give us a sharp look, and next transferred the look to 
his stick kept upon the cupboard, and immediately we were 
as quiet as a May morning. 

Father never stormed and holloed at us in order to secure 

He used but few words, but meant just what he said, and 
we learned to do what we were told at once without a word. 

We boys were allowed to use the horses on holidays to 
make some money for ourselves and to haul persons to 
camp-meetings at so much a head. In that way we made 
some money to buy Sunday clothes with, for father never 
gave us money to spend or to buy fine clothes. That was 
another good lesson which taught us to shift for ourselves in 
order to make some pennies and how to spend them to the 
best advantage. 

We were not allowed to stay out late at night, and if one 
of us should happen to be late in getting in father had to 


know where the latecomer had been and the cause of his 
lateness, and that bit of useful information had to be forth- 
coming, too. The knowledge of this standing rule in our 
home, no doubt, kept us from the many evils which late 
hours and bad companions bring upon many young persons 
who are not evilly disposed. 

When father went away from home and promised to re- 
turn at a certain time we always looked for him at the ap- 
pointed time. He was always a man of his word. If he 
happened to be just a little late and it was at night mother 
would go out and listen for him and walk toward the stable 
and call out "Father! father I" I seem to hear her familiar 
voice now ringing out upon the gentle evening breezes call- 
ing the one that we all so dearly loved. 

As a provider for our home, according to his surround- 
ings, father had but few equals. I do not remember the 
time when we did not have plenty to eat and wear. A more 
industrious man than my father never lived. While many 
industrious persons work hard six days in the week and rest 
the first day, he worked seven days in each week, six for his 
family and one for God and humanity. 

He seemed to act upon the theory that men should wear 
out and not rust out. To spend and be spent in honest labor 
and in doing good was the height of his ambition. 

There was a very large family of us — fourteen children 
born, and ten lived to be young men and women. Before 
the war living was high and wages low. With such a family 
to provide for under such circumstances was a herculean 
task ; but father proved himself equal to the task, and made 
ample provision for those dependent upon him. 

When I look about me now and see how much better 
wages are and how much lower provisions can be bought 
than when I was a boy, and yet see so many who cannot or 
do not properly provide for much smaller families, I wonder 
to myself how my parents managed to make us all com- 
fortable and happy with full and plenty. Father worked late 
and early, hot and cold, wet and dry. 

Many times he would get up long before it was light and 
go to work. Much of the cold and rough weather of the 


long winters we had when I was a boy was spent in thresh- 
ing wheat, rye and oats with the flail for our neighbors. 
The colder the weather the better for threshing, but it was 
hard on the hands and feet. I helped to thresh many a 
bushel with cold feet and hands. 

For a number of years father threshed a large portion of 
the wheat, and especially of the rye, raised in our neigh- 
borhood. It was the continuous toiling that produced 
bread for our mouths and clothes for our backs. 

Of course, I do not forget a very important factor that 
largely aided in caring for the family, and that factor was 
no less an individual than my good and noble mother. She 
was more than an ordinary woman in many respects. She 
did not have any learning, not being able to read, yet she 
was a natural mathematician, and could calculate rapidly 
and accurately any and all accounts that came in her line of 
business. Mother attended market for many years, and no 
bookkeeper kept his accounts any more correctly than she 

Again, mother could do two persons' work. She could 
do a man's work in the field and a woman's work in the 
house. She could feed, carry and gear the horses ; could 
cradle, mow, load, unload and thresh grain ; could shear 
sheep, card the wool, make the rolls and spin the yarn. In 
a word, she could do anything farming called for, and need 
not turn her back upon anyone in the home. 

Mother was a splendid nurse. I had the white swelling 
when a boy of fourteen years, and I believe it was through 
the careful and wise attention and skillful nursing of mother 
and father that I got well without being a cripple. Such 
a woman and mother was a great factor in a poor man's 
family in ante-bellum days. With a less industrious, en- 
ergetic, thorough-going, wise and skillful manager in our 
home father's industry, economy, careful management and 
watchful eye would have failed to accomplish the great task 
assigned him. 

Not to detract anything in any way from my father, but 
to the praise and honor due my mother, I want to say here 
that if father had followed mother's advice in many things 


he would have been much better off financially. When it 
came to real business tact and ability mother stood far 
ahead of father. The first real estate owned by them mother 
bought. Pluck and push were the moving forces in mother's 
nature. She believed in setting her mark far ahead, and then 
with dauntless courage, push and energy make right straight 
for the mark. 

While on the other hand, father never set his mark far 
ahead of him, so that by easy and sure strides he could 
reach it. Father, from a business point of view, never 
learned how to swim, because he was afraid to go out into 
deep waters, but always kept near the shore, where it was 
an easy matter to reach the land. By so doing he never 
contracted a debt that he could not and did not pay. 

At convenient times we boys were allowed to fish, hunt, 
play ball, marbles, and to have other amusements suitable 
to boyish pastime, but were not permitted to do so on Sun- 
days. Sometimes we would get with other boys who in- 
dulged in such things on the day of rest and would violate 
father's rules. One Sunday we, with some other boys, were 
playing marbles in a public road in a woods, but keeping a 
sharp lookout for passers-by. W e soon saw a man coming, 
gathered up the marbles and hid in the bushes. The new- 
comer saw us hide and sought us out. It was Mr. David 
Spencer, a neighbor of ours. He found out what we were 
doing, and was anxious to join us in playing marbles. We 
all agreed to play, and did so for quite a while, not being dis- 
turbed any more by anyone. But to our great surprise and 
discomfort, David Spencer told father that w T e were playing 
marbles on Sunday. He demanded all our marbles and 
strictly forbade us to play any more on Sunday. I do not 
remember of ever having played marbles again on Sunday. 
While it was a very mean act in David Spencer to become a 
party in the games, being a man of a family, and then to be- 
tray his boy associates, yet it taught us two good lessons, 
first, that your sins will find you out, and secondly, beware 
of men that lie in wait to deceive. 

We boys had to work for father until we were twenty-one 
years old, and the girls till eighteen. There was no thought 


on our part of doing otherwise. What he said was law if not 
always Gospel (good news). But a home without law will 
never be governed by the Gospel, although it be the Gospel 
of peace. St. Paul says, "By the law is the knowledge of 
sin ; nay, I had not known sin but by the law." Where 
there is no law actions do not count. No law, no violation ; 
no violation, no punishment. A home without law is like 
a ship at sea without compass and rudder. The ship is left 
to the tender mercies of the billows, and all on board are in 
great danger of being lost. 

Father laid down strict laws and enforced them to the let- 
ter. Every k 'i "was dotted and every "t" crossed. The pen- 
alty for violating his laws was severe and well understood, 
and for every violation the punishment was forthcoming, 
and no one knew it better than the violator. I am very 
thankful that we had such a strict father, who ruled well his 
own house, and not only proved himself to be the real head 
of the family, but a most efficient and worthy head, husband 
and father. 

While some parents are too severe with their children, 
punishing them most cruelly when in a passion, they are 
not at all strict in enforcing law, or have none to enforce, and 
the home government is a most sad failure to behold. Such 
failures are very numerous in this generation, and the re- 
sults are seen everywhere, but more especially are they seen 
in the saloons, gambling dens, houses of ill repute and in 
the county and State's prisons. 

Our home was a model home in many things. Cleanli- 
ness, neatness, quietness, politeness, good conduct, honesty, 
sobriety, economy, thrift, uprightness and piety were the 
green plants that were constantly cultivated in our home. 
The labor bestowed was not in vain, but has produced a 
goodly harvest and a rich reward to the sacred memory of 
the honored dead. 

Family worship was a prominent feature in our home. 
As far back as I can remember it was father's custom to have 
family prayers every night and every Sunday morning, and 
in later years he had prayers night and morning. Father 
would announce a hymn, and all would join in singing it. 


Mother had a strong voice, as clear as a bell, and she was 
not afraid to use it. Mother also learned to sing by note, 
the patent do, re, me's, and she enjoyed note singing very 
much indeed. She pronounced the note sol, sal ; we having 
a horse named Sal, and when mother would commence to 
sing do, sal, someone would say, ''Mother's calling Sal/' 

Father always read the Bible Sunday morning before 

His favorite hymns to sing at family prayers were some 
of the old familiar Methodist hymns, such as — 

"O may Thy powerful word 
Inspire a feeble worm," etc. 

"My God, how endless is Thy love; 
Thy gifts are every evening new/' etc. 

"Plunged in a gulf of dark despair, 
We wretched sinners lay," etc. 

"How tedious and tasteless the hour 
When Jesus no longer I see," etc. 

"Behold the Saviour of mankind 
Nailed to the shameful tree," etc. 

Many, many hundred times were these good old hymns 
sung in our home at family worship. Father always led in 
prayer, unless some friend or stranger happened to be pres- 
ent who could take that part of the service, he would be 
called on to lead in prayer. 

God pity the home that has no family altar where prayer, 
like sweet incense should ascend to a throne of grace and be 
answered in great blessing upon the home. 

The Good, the Honest, the True Man. 

David says, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the 
Lord : and he delighteth in his way." The way that men 
seem to choose that results in good to themselves and others 


was not selected by them, but was ordered by the allwise 
hand of God. Many who seem to be planning to follow in 
certain lines in order to accomplish certain results are simply 
following the wise purposes of the omniscient God, who 
rules and governs all things. 

God makes the heart of man right, and then good deeds 
naturally flow from it as the rain descends upon the earth, 

John B. Snowden was a man whose every step seemed to 
be guided by the Eye that is divine. He never entered upon 
any course nastily or rashly, but considered calmly and care- 
fully the contemplated action before he took the first step. 
But when he had once decided to do a thing, he did it with 
the whole heart, and God blessed the labors of his hands. 
Whatever he did was done with an eye single to the glory of 
God, and whatever did not savor of Christ did not receive 
his sanction. 

He was interested in State and national affairs, and tried 
to keep abreast with the times. Before the war he was a 
strong democrat, believing that party was better fitted to 
carry on the government to the best advantage. Of course, 
he did not believe in the pro-slavery principles of the demo- 
cratic party, but as no other party favored the abolition of 
slavery, he had no choice in that matter between the parties, 
and remained a good democrat till 1856, when John C. Fre- 
mont was nominated by the newly-formed republican party. 
Learning that the republican party was opposed to the ex- 
tension of slavery, he gradually laid aside his democracy and 
quietly espoused the cause of the more aggressive and praise- 
worthy child that was born to slay the giant king, slavery. 
In i860, when Mr. Lincoln was nominated, father boldly 
came out for him as the standard-bearer of the party of des- 
tiny, and ever afterward remained a firm republican, and 
after he was made a citizen and voter he never failed, when 
an opportunity presented itself, to vote the republican ticket 
and to do all he could, in a quiet way, to advance the interests 
of that party. Nothing could induce him to leave the party 
of Lincoln, Sumner, Grant and Wilson, the party of freedom, 
equal rights, liberal education and protection to American 
industries in all lines. 


He always was deeply interested in the welfare of the 
country, as well as that of his race. Xo one was more de- 
lighted than he when the colored man was enlisted as a sol- 
dier to help put down the rebellion. Well do I remember 
the first time he saw two colored soldiers pass by our place. 
We were in the field along the Western Maryland Railroad 
at work as they came walking along the railroad, dressed in 
their new blue uniform. 

Father hailed them with boyish delight, and plied them 
with many questions, and it seemed to overjoy him to see 
two of his race preparing themselves to go to the front to 
face shot and shell in the defense of their country. 

There was no fight about father, but when it was neces- 
sary to fight he gloried in the pluck of those who did fight 
for truth and the right. He never wanted us boys to dis- 
turb or fight anyone uncalled for, but always advised us to 
take our own part, and if it was needful to fight, then fight 
and whip somebody, if possible. We did not fail to heed the 
advice, and when imposed on somebody got hurt. 

Again, it is said, "A good man showeth favor and lendeth: 
he will guide his affairs with discretion." The desire to favor 
everybody by lending a helping hand is a gift from God. 
None but the truly good and pure in heart can render such 
wonderful kindness. Most men seek to obtain favors, but 
are seldom or never willing and ready to return the same. 
They are ever willing to borrow when in need, but never 
have to lend, save a helping hand to crush you. 

When this Bible test is brought to bear upon many mem- 
bers of the church, and especially upon some ministers, they 
are weighed in the balance and found wanting. Their motto 
seems to be, get all and give nothing, and the man who gets 
the largest salary wants still more, and gives less every year. 
Aye, they give far less than many who are not half as able to 

The subject of this sketch was ever willing to show favors 
to all, even to a dog. He often said, "It is better to have the 
good-will of a dog than the ill-will/ 5 

He was often imposed upon by others because of his kind 
disposition toward all with whom he came in contact. He 


often did work by contract without having the agreement 
written, trusting to the honesty of the other parties. He 
would work hard, late and early to fulfill his part of the con- 
tract. But w T hen time of settlement came and the contract 
was disputed, as was the case more than once, he would yield 
his point and give away much hard-earned money by com- 
promising with his debtor, in order that a peaceable settle- 
ment might be had and friendship continued. 

John B. Snowden has lost many dollars by those who 
owed him, refusing to pay their just debts, and yet he would 
not force them to pay him. I can remember many such 
cases, but shall speak of just one. I shall not give the name, 
because I respect the feelings of his relatives. 

Father did work at a number of times for that neighbor, 
but could never get him to pay for the work done. At last 
father wanted some writing done which he did not feel safe 
to do himself, and got his debtor to do the writing, and told 
him that he would leave the writing go to settle the debt in 
full. The settlement was like giving a horse for a day's work, 
yet it seemed to be the best that could be done with a hard 
case. But, to our great surprise, that old debtor brought in 
a bill of $5 against father's estate for the said writing done 
in settlement of his old debt. Father told brother John that 
he had settled with the party in the way above stated, and 
no man who knew him would dare doubt his word save a 
big rascal. 

John B. Snowden showed great favor in preaching to the 
people, far and near, for over forty years without any money 
consideration at all. Thus did he lend himself to the Lord 
in order to win souls for the kingdom of grace and glory 
and in building up believers in the faith. No man since St. 
Paul's day ever preached the Gospel more willingly, without 
favor or fear, than did John B. Snowden. "It was his meat 
and drink to do the will of Him that sent him." After he 
joined the Washington Conference, and gave his whole time 
to the ministry of the word, he never urged the people for 
whom he labored to pay him the salary promised. He just 
went ahead to preach the Gospel as best he knew how, and 
left the small matter of salary with the people as it suited 


their convenience to pay or not to pay. They often chose 
not to pay a large part of what they promised him. 

He would rather work with his hands, and did so, for his 
bread than to beg the congregation for what they owed him. 

The Christlike element of showing favor and giving was 
so deeply rooted in his being that nothing could ever move 
him from striving to help the lowest and meanest of men. 

It was that deep, ever-living and always abiding fountain 
in the man that caused him to look with favor upon many 
undeserving ones who sought to gain an advantage over a 
trusting friend. . He once bought a slave man in order to set 
him free, with the understanding that the ex-slave was to 
pay the money back again, but he failed to pay the money, 
and father never pushed him for it. 

Pope says, "An honest man's the noblest work of God." 
There can be no real goodness or Christianity without real, 
genuine honesty. I heard a minister say once, "that a man 
might be honest and yet have other bad habits." I do not 
believe his statement. Honesty, in its broadest sense, in- 
cludes every trait of good character. Unless a man is honest 
with himself, with his neighbor and with his God he cannot 
be the noblest work of God. Honesty in money matters is 
but one small element in the honest man's make-up. 

Pope's definition of an honest man is only touched at one 
point by such honesty. In order for a man to be the "noblest 
work of God" there must be no flaw in his character, no guile 
found in him. The apostle Philip was such a man when he 
came to Jesus, "an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no 

John B. Snowden was an honest man in the broadest sense 
of that term. He was strictly honest in ail things. I have 
often said that he was too honest in many respects. In sell- 
ing his produce he was not satisfied with giving good meas- 
ure and weight, but would throw in a bushel of corn after a 
full barrel had been measured, or whatever he sold a quantity 
was thrown in, overmeasure. 

In that way he gave away much of his labor uncalled for. 
Good measure is all that is required of any man. He would 


rather give away a day's work than to charge more than it 
was worth. 

His motto was, "Good measure, pressed down and run- 
ning over." It is safe to say that all who knew John B. 
Snowden would trust him in all things and to any extent, 
and from that fact all who knew him knew him to love him. 

It was repugnant to his nature to harbor a dishonest 
thought or to cherish a mean desire. The great motive pow- 
ers that controlled all of his acts were unselfishness, charity, 
good-will and true friendship toward all men. With such 
glowing and undying principles burning upon the altar of a 
great heart,, father lived to a ripe old age, preaching more 
effectually in the life he lived than in the sermons he deliv- 
ered from the pulpit. The power for good of that life is still 
felt by many who came in contact with that noble man of 
God — noble in word, more noble in deed. 

Devotedness to principle was one of the leading charac- 
teristics of my father. When he believed that an opinion 
that had been formed was right, and he took the word of 
God as his guide, he could not be moved from the path which 
seemed to lead to the truth. Wherever he took his stand he 
was as firm as a rock. He never could be convinced that the 
earth moves, and that its motiori around the sun causes day 
and night and the different seasons. The Bible says that 
Joshua prayed for the sun and moon to stand still, and 
father took the Bible just as it read, and argued that if the 
earth moved Joshua would have prayed for the earth to stand 
still, and not the sun and moon. 

But his mistake was only a half-mistake, after all, which 
was that the earth does not move. It is a fact that the sun 
does move around in his orbit, and the orbit of his motion is 
so great that it takes about twenty-eight of our years to 
make one day of the sun. This fact is not generally known, 
and most persons think the sun is perfectly stationary. But 
this is a very natural mistake, because the children are taught 
in our common schools that the sun stands still and the earth 
moves, and the most of those pupils never reach the higher- 
grade schools where astronomy is properly taught. 

We trust that this point may awaken such an interest in 


the mind of the reader that he may hunt up his astronomy, 
if laid aside, and brighten up his astronomical vision. Time 
spent in this line will pay well all who can devote some time 
in the pursuit. 

A man who has been severely tried and not found wanting 
is the true man. Real manhood is not the product of a few 
months' or years' development. It must be made of sterner 
material, that can only be developed by long years of close 
application and devotion to right principles, the embodiment 
of justice and truth. The truth of this statement is verified 
by the actions of both Church and State. The more respon- 
sible the position, other things equal, the older the man must 
be to fill that position. The offices of senator, President and 
bishop are the places of the greatest importance and respon- 
sibility, and seldom a man under fifty years of age is elected 
to fill those places. These offices call for men of ripe years, 
as well as men of great learning, illumined with great nat- 
ural ability and adaptability. 

If the affairs in Church and State government are to be- 
properly administered they must be placed in safe hands, 
and the proper hands that should administer those affairs 
are those that have gone through the crucial test of years of 
experience in minor places of trust and honor. 

John B. Snowden held one of the highest places of trust 
committed to man for sixty-two years — a minister of the 
Gospel of the Son of God, and he was always obedient to the 
heavenly calling and to the call of his church, going forth 
willingly and gladly to do the work assigned to his hands. 

He loved the truth for the truth's sake. Possibly no man 
ever stuck to the truth through life closer than he did. No 
promise of his that could be fulfilled was allowed to go un- 
fulfilled. His word being his bond, he hated a lie, and had 
no use for a liar. He was truthful at all times in all places 
and with all persons. Like David, "He walked in his house 
with a perfect heart." In the family truth was his watch- 
word. Whatever promises he made to mother or the chil- 
dren were always fulfilled. He did not whip us for violating 
his rules on Sunday, but would simply say, "I will pay, whip 
or correct you for that." Pay day usually came bright and 


early Monday morning before we were ready to get up. The 
help received at those times, when the conditions were so 
favorable for such treatment, enabled us to get up without 
any invitation. It may be that the reader has been there him- 
self and remembers how easy it was for him to get out of bed 
under such circumstances. 

The truth w T as so deeply imbedded in father's character 
that no power in earth, hell or sky was able to uproot it. This 
fixed princple was one of the elements in his nature that 
largely contributed to make him the grand man that he was. 

In commenting on the fifteenth verse of the fourth chap- 
ter of the Letter to the Ephesians, Albert Barnes says: "In 
opposition to all trick, and art, and cunning, and fraud, and 
deception, Christians are to speak the simple truth, and noth- 
ing but the truth. Every statement which they make should 
be unvarnished truth, and every promise which they make 
should be true; every representation which they make of sen- 
timents of others should be simple truth. Truth is the rep- 
resentation of things as they are, and there is no virtue that 
is more valuable in a Christian than the love of simple truth/' 

There is nothing that is of more value to anyone than truth, 
and he who disregards it in any shape or form is unsafe, un- 
gentlemanly, unwise and unchristian. There is no possible 
way for a person to be a Christian who is not truthful in 
everything. A lie is the direct opposite of the truth, and the 
two cannot be associated or brought together in any pos- 
sible way. You cannot bring darkness and light together. 
Light always drives away darkness, and darkness is simply 
the absence of light. God is the God or Maker of truth, 
while the devil is a liar and the father of lies, and there can 
be no affiliation between God and satan. They are direct 
opposites, always have been and always will be. 

A lie is told to conceal dark and evil deeds, to deceive the 
innocent and unsuspecting. It lurks in secret places and is 
shy; it does not come forth to the light, because its deeds are 
evil. The truth is bold and stands forth in bold relief, so 
that all can behold the simplicity and beauty in its statements, 
the justice of the course it pursues, the power and grandeur 


of its utterances, the purity of its thoughts and the sparkling 
loveliness of its crystal fountain. 

There can be no real love without truth. The love of a 
lie, of the impure, of crime and sin of every kind is false love, 
being based upon the unreal and that which is not true ; it 
will all pass away as a dream, while the truth shall stand for- 
ever, and if it should fail everything would fail and come to 

Man cannot love man unless he is true to man. A mother 
cannot love her babe unless she has true motherly instincts. 
Xone but true men and women can really and truly love. All 
others are governed by sentiment and sordid passions, mis- 
taken for love, which at the first run away with their poor, 
weak possessors and lead them into the most strange and 
harmful conditions and relations, and then leave them in the 
most wretched and pitiable condition in which they can be 

Men and women who marry for wealth, position, sentiment 
or passion soon tire of each other, and either seek to be 
loosed or to find more agreeable associates with whom they 
spend most of their time. On the other hand, a true man 
and wife never tire of each other in their love and devotion, 
and as the years go by, and they become old and gray- 
headed, their love grows stronger and stronger, and when 
death takes one the other is truly sad and in distress, like a 
ship stranded upon the shore. Here are the words of Bishop 
E. S. Janes seventeen days after the death of his wife, ad- 
dressed to Dr. J. S. Porter: 

"My bereavement is a very afflictive one. A tender, lov- 
ing conjugal relation of more than forty years is severed. 
The survivor must suffer actually. My sense of loss and 
loneliness is indescribable. - Still I have the fellowship of the 
Infinite, a satisfying portion. My hope is full of immortality. 
I am to the margin come. I must soon follow her who has 
entered into glory." 

True love, in the hour of bereavement, gave utterance to 
these tender and touching words of that great and good man. 

The subject of this sketch loved his wife as truly as he 
loved himself. Xo other woman was allowed a place in his 


affections while mother lived. His actions towards all others 
were that of a Christian gentleman and a brother. As to the 
truth of the above statement all the living who knew him 
can testify. 

He hated deceit at all times and in all persons, and when 
he found it in those that he considered persons worthy of 
his confidence, it seemed to cut him to the heart, and he 
would say, "I did not think it of him!" Such discoveries 
were thorns in his flesh, and he would speak of them again 
and again with great feeling. 

He believed that every professed Christian should be per- 
fectly honest and truthful, and especially should this be the 
case with every minister of Jesus. 

He once bought a horse from a brother-minister, and it 
failed to come up to the representation made to him when 
he bought the animal. After that business transaction father 
never had much faith in the Christian character of that min- 
isterial brother. He could not take the least advantage of 
anyone, and he could not understand how any Christian 
could deceive anyone, and more especially a brother or sister 
in the church. 

The wise man says, U A good man leaveth an inheritance 
to his children's children." While this may be true in worldly 
riches, it is more strictly true when it comes to the wealth of 
honor, love, truth and Christian character which all good 
men leave to their children's children, the richest legacy that 
man can bestow upon man. All good men do not have prop- 
erty to leave to anyone. Like Lazarus, many have to be fed 
from the tables of others. But all can leave great wealth in 
all the Christian virtues. 

My father died leaving only a few hundred dollars in real 
estate to his children, but he left us and his grandchildren 
untold wealth in the elements of justice, truth, honesty, 
purity of life and holiness unto the Lord. But few parents 
ever left more of these truest riches to their children and to 
posterity than John B. Snowden did. When we contemplate 
the greatness of that wealth, the beauty of that grand and 
noble life, how prominently it stood forth for more than a 


half-century, we feel like hiding our face in shame because 
of our failures and shortcomings. 

The so-called nobility in Europe is but in name in most, 
cases. While they bear the title of being noble, their lives,, 
in many cases, are the most wretched and degraded. Their 
greatness consists in failing to live nobly, and have left to 
their posterity such a mass of corruption that many centu- 
ries may not wipe away. 

The true noblemen are usually found among the poor, 
where Christ found the apostles and this country found her 
Lincoln, Grant and Garfield. Those who write their names 
high upon the banner of King Emmanuel, and die all covered 
over with the garments of salvation, are God's noblemen. 
Earthly titles are often meaningless, because they do not rep- 
resent the truth. Only that which represents things as they 
are is true. 

We believe we represent the man as he was when we say 
that John B. Snowden was a noble man in thought, word 
and deed. He was not known far from home, but while he 
walked among men in the earth his name was written in the 
Lamb's Book of Life. 

Jest was something he very seldom indulged in, and only 
pure and true jesting fell from his lips. He could not supply 
fun for any occasion at the expense of the truth. His man- 
ner was usually serious and thoughtful. 

The veteran soldier of the cross, the faithful expounder of 
the truth, having quit the shores of time, has gone to reap the 
reward that is "incorruptible, underlled and that fadeth not 
away, reserved in heaven for him," resplendent in brightness, 
the diadem of righteousness, prepared by the righteous 
Judge for His servant. 


His Work as a Local and Traveling Minister. 

Rev. John Baptist Snowden preached in the local capacity 
for forty years. The most of those years he preached almost 
as regularly as an itinerant minister, going far and near to 


carry the blessed message of salvation, telling saints and 
sinners the wonderful story of the cross. Yet, to my knowl- 
edge he never asked for a collection during those forty 
years. It was a work of love for his Master and his fellow- 
man that was done cheerfully and gladly. No place from 
which the Macedonian cry came was too far for him to 
walk in order to answer the call "Come over and help us/' 
seldom stopping on account of inclement weather. To carry 
the Saviour's message was the joy of his soul. 

He was ordained deacon and elder while a local preacher 
and during the days of slavery, walking to Baltimore, Md., 
where he was ordained, two different times, a distance of 
fifty miles a round trip. He was the only elder of color in 
Western Maryland till the organization of the Washington 
Conference in 1864. 

A man by the name of Philip Hawkins who committed 
murder in Frederick county, Maryland, was condemned to 
die upon the scaffold in Frederick City in the fifties. My 
father walked to Frederick, some thirty miles away, in order 
to talk and pray with the condemned man, and went with 
him to the death-trap to advise, encourage, comfort and con- 
sole him who was standing upon the verge of eternity just 
waiting the executioner's time to summon him hence. If 
there was a chance to save Hawkins father did not intend 
to let that chance go unimproved. 

In 1859 father rendered like service to a poor condemned 
woman known as ArndorfFs Beck. She had killed a fellow 
slave boy, for which crime she was tried, convicted of mur- 
der and sentenced to be hanged in Westminster, Md. My 
father, then living only three miles away, visited her often 
in order to lead her to Jesus. He continued to labor with 
her till she professed to have found peace and rest in the 
world's Redeemer and to be saved from her sins. When 
the day of execution arrived father arose early and has- 
tened to the cell of the murderess to do what he could to 
prepare her to meet the Judge of all the earth with joy and 
not with grief. He accompanied her upon the gallows and 
ministered to her the life-giving words of Jesus, so that 
death might be made easy and an eternal gain. Such was 


his love for souls that prison-houses and death scaffolds had 
no terror for him if someone was there who needed Jesus, 
the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. 
The world needs such men who will dare and do everything 
possible to save men everywhere. Jesus can save the vilest 
of the vile if He only has a fair chance, and in order for Him 
to have such a chance we must carry His message to those 
in prison as well as to those not in prison-houses. 

The Washington Annual Conference was organized Oc- 
tober 27, 1864, by Bishop Levi Scott, D. D., with four trav- 
eling elders, viz: Revs. Benjamin Brown, Sr., James H. 
Harper, James Peck and Elijah Grissem. The following- 
named persons were admitted on trial at the first session of 
the Conference: H. R. Elbert, P. G. Walker, David P. 
Jones, John H. Brice, Ephraim Lawson, Richard P. Bell, 
John B. Snowden, Joseph P. Bowser, James Thomas, R. H. 
Robinson, Henry Hutton, N. M. Carroll, William Hicks, 
Tilghman Jackson, Henry Matthews and Washington 

These were the men that Bishop Scott of blessed memory 
organized into a body of Christian workers and named it the 
Washington Conference. The little acorn that was then 
planted has grown to a large tree of one hundred and forty- 
five branches. Many of them are of a strong and vigorous 
growth. May they continue to grow in number and in intel- 
lectual, moral and religious strength until it can be truly said 
the Washington Conference is great in all the essentials of 
real greatness. 

My father received his first appointment October 31, 
1864, to the Jefferson circuit in Frederick county, Maryland. 
His other appointments were as follows : 

1865-66 — Dallas street, Baltimore, Md. 

1867-68 — Linganore circuit, Maryland. 

1869 — Baltimore circuit, Maryland. 

1870- 71 — Harford circuit, Maryland. 

1872 — Middletown circuit, Maryland. 

1873 — Pine Grove circuit, Maryland. 

1874— 75 — Govanstown circuit, Maryland. 


1876-77 — Hagerstown station, Maryland. 
1878 — Leesburg, Va. 

This was his last appointment. In 1879, at the age of 
seventy-eight years, he took a superannuated relation and 
returned to his quiet home in Westminster, where he was 
well known and greatly beloved. During the six years of 
his retired ministry he took an active part in the home 
church and in other places where he could be of any service 
to his brethren and their people. He loved to attend camp- 
meetings, and was getting ready to attend the Asbury Grove 
Camp a few days before his death. 

His death was largely the result of having caught a severe 
cold in February while attending a white man's funeral by 
special request of the deceased, and then attended a pro- 
tracted meeting the same night, returned home late at night, 
and without making any fire he retired with damp and cold 
feet, from which he contracted a severe cold, which turned 
to the asthma, from which he never fully recovered. 

He died peacefully in the early morning of September 8, 
1885, at Mrs. Elizabeth A. Lowery's home, his oldest daugh- 
ter, who lived near Westminster, Md. Four of the then 
eight children were at the side of the sad bed of death. His 
only living sister and a few others watched the long and use- 
ful life glide softly and peacefully away. 

The funeral services were held in the Centenary Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church of Westminster September 10 at 11 
o'clock, attended by a large concourse of ministers and peo- 
ple, white and colored. 

The Rev. James Thomas preached the funeral discourse. 
The Rev. Dr. E. W. S. Peck, Rev. Charles Reid of West- 
minster and others made short addresses. Here is what the 
Westminster papers had to say. The Democratic Advocate 
contained the following account : 

Death of Rev. John Baptist Snowden. 

Rev. John Baptist Snowden, colored, died at the resi- 
dence of his son-in-law, William Lowery, this city, on Tues- 
day morning last, September 8.- He was eighty-four years 


old on the 14th of last May. He was born in Anne Arundel 
county, and belonged to Nicholas Harden, and was given 
to his son Matthew. His third owner was Nicholas, a grand- 
son of Nicholas Harden; fourth owner, Thomas Majors, by 
descent ; fifth owner, Elisha Bennett of Baltimore county. 
By w r orking overtime and saving all the money that came 
into his hands from the visitors of his several masters he 
was enabled to purchase, his freedom when he was twenty- 
nine years of age, of which he was very proud, and dwelt 
at great length upon the fact that when the other hands were 
frolicking at corn-huskings, picking the banjo and other 
sports, he remained at home making baskets, husk mats 
and collars, hickory brooms, distilling herbs or was en- 
gaged in arranging traps or snares for game. All the gen- 
tlemen, he said, were anxious to have "Bap" wait on them, 
and that he took extra care to see that everything was in its 
proper place, and he was ready at any moment to render 
such assistance as was needed. By this means he soon be- 
came popular, and was allowed more privileges than many 
other servants. He was taught to read by the children of 
Mr. Majors and his playmates, the sons of gentlemen in the 
neighborhood, and took great pride in stating that he re- 
ceived the best of treatment while a slave and after he pur- 
chased his freedom. When he was twenty-two years old he 
was a local preacher, and in 1822 he was licensed to preach 
by the Methodist Episcopal Church. His first circuit was 
Jefferson, Frederick county ; from there he was sent to Bal- 
timore, and was stationed at Dallas street ; from there to 
Linganore circuit, Frederick county ; then to Baltimore 
county ; then to Harford county ; then to Middletown, Fred- 
erick county ; then to Govanstown, Baltimore county ; then 
to Hagerstown, Washington county ; then to Leesburg, Va. 
After this last appointment he was placed upon the super- 
annuated list. His grandmother was Mitta Barrikee, an 
African princess, who was stolen while walking in the woods 
with her maid and brought to this country by slave-traders. 
His grandfather was Thomas Collyer, an Englishman. In 
1 83 1 he married Margaret Koons, a servant in the family 
of Mrs. Granadams of Westminster, Md. As a preacher he 


was very successful, and rarely missed an appointment, 
though on some of the circuits he traveled from place to 
place on foot, and during all this time he enjoyed good 
health. He was the father of fourteen children, eight of 
whom are now living. One of his sons, Thomas B., grad- 
uated at Howard University, Washington, D. C, and also 
at the Theological Seminary, Boston, Mass., where the de- 
gree B. D. was conferred upon him. At the time of his death 
he had made his home in Westminster for about fifty-five 
years. Mr. Snowden had the esteem and respect of all, 
both white and colored. 

His funeral took place from Centenary M. E. Church on 
Thursday morning, Rev. James Thomas of Baltimore, as- 
sisted by Rev. Charles A. Reid, officiating, and the remains 
were interred in the colored cemetery near this city. 

The American Sentinel gave the following sketch : 

Death of Rev. John B. Snowden. 

Rev. John Baptist Snow T den, a well-known and highly- 
respected colored citizen of Westminster, died at the resi- 
dence of his son-in-law, William Lowry, on Tuesday morn- 
ing, aged eighty-four years, three months and twenty-four 
days. Born a slave in the family of Nicholas Harden in 
Anne Arundel county and of slave parents, he was early 
trained and taught by a religious mother, and at the age 
of nineteen he was converted and connected himself with the 
Methodist Church. Two years later he began service as a 
local preacher, and at the age of twenty-nine purchased his 
freedom from Elisha Bennett, Esq., to whom he then be- 
longed. His services as local preacher extended over Mary- 
land, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Often he would walk 
from W estminster to Gettysburg, Pa., preach and hold ser- 
vice, and then return on foot to his home. He was untiring 
in his labors, enjoyed the respect and esteem of everyone 
with whom he came in contact, and numbered amongst his 
converts many white as well as colored people. In 1864 he 
joined the Washington Conference, and was stationed suc- 
cessively on Jefferson circuit, Frederick county ; Dallas 


street, Baltimore city; Liberty circuit, Frederick county; 
Reisterstown circuit, Baltimore county ; Harford and Gov- 
anstown circuits, Baltimore county ; Hagerstown station, 
Md., and Leesburg, Va. He was superannuated in 1879, 
since which time he has been living quietly with his chil- 
dren. During the past year his health has been failing, and 
the old gentleman has grown more and more feeble, until 
Tuesday morning he closed a long and useful life, carrying 
with him the confidence and esteem of his fellow-men and 
the consciousness of having lived an upright life and per- 
formed his duty faithfully whenever and in whatever field he 
was called to labor. 

His parents were both slaves. His grandmother was 
stolen from Africa by slave-traders about the year 1767 while 
pleasuring with her female companion Katy. Her name 
was Mitta Barrikee, and when stolen she was richly attired 
and carried with her evidences of good birth. She was 
brought to this country and sold as a slave. His grand- 
father was Thomas Collyer, an Englishman, with whom his 
grandmother lived until the day of his death, the laws of the 
land prohibiting intermarriage with the races. Mr. Snow- 
den had fourteen children, eight sons and six daughters. 
Three of the sons and nearly all the daughters survive him. 
Rev. Thomas Snowden is a professor in Centenary Biblical 
Institute, Baltimore city, and John M. Snowden, who stands 
as one of our most useful and respected citizens, also enjoys 
the distinction of being the first colored juror in Carroll 
county. One daughter married the Rev. Perry G. Walker, 
and another the Rev. Charles G. Key, both of the M. E. Con- 
ference. His funeral took place on Thursday morning at 
Centenary M. E. Church, Westminster, and w T as largely at- 
tended by both white and colored. 

The pallbearers were Rev. David N. Brown, David Ire- 
land, John Adams, Amos Johns and Uriah Bruce. The ser- 
vices were held in Centenary M. E. Church and opened with 
prayer by Rev. W. P. Ryder of Baltimore. Rev. James 
Thomas of St. Paul's M. E. Church, Baltimore, preached a 
sermon from St. Matthew, twenty-fifth chapter and twenty- 
first verse, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Rev. 


Samuel Brown of Westminster, Rev. P. Matthews of Balti- 
more and Rev. R. Riggs of Fair View, Frederick county, 
also occupied seats in the pulpit and assisted in the services. 
The Rev. Charles Reid of Westminster made some touching 
remarks on the life and character of Mr. Snowden, and Rev. 
Dr. E. W. S. Peck, presiding elder of Washington Con- 
ference, also made a few appropriate remarks. In the large 
congregation assembled to show respect and honor to the 
memory of one who had always occupied a high place in the 
respect of the community were Rev. G. W. Heyde, pastor of 
the church; R.ev. A. S. Weber of the Reformed Church ; N. I. 
Gorsuch, Col. W. A. McKellip, G. W. Matthews and many 
other prominent white citizens. The interment took place 
at the cemetery. The music was by the M. E. Church choir. 

The Rev. Charles Reid said in his address: "I knew 
Brother Snowden for thirty-seven years, and I do not know 
a man in the county, white or colored, who was more re- 
spected than he was." 

Such an encomium, coming from a man like Rev. Charles 
Reid of the Baltimore Conference, is all that heart could 
wish ; yet all who knew my father could say "Amen" to Rev. 
Mr. Reid's statement. 

Servant of God, thy work has ceased, 
And thy burden thou hast laid down. 

May thy dwelling-place now be peace, 
Thy reward an eternal crown. 

Toilsome journeys on earth are done, 

As footsore you trod them alone. 
Thy many years of toil are gone. 

Rest, weary one, with Christ at home. 

At home at last ! Blessed abode ! 

The happy place where all is love. 
No more on earth ; a saint above, 

As calm and peaceful as a dove. 

Farewell, dear father ! By and by 
We hope to meet thee over there, 

> Where all is bright above the sky. 
^ J! Ij^ewell, until we meet you there ! 




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TJTREE - (African, Englishman and Germai 
("Sal") Minty Barrikee^ A Princ 
Landed'at Elkridge, Anne Arundel County, 

5 Col Her -(White Engl i shman)was her husba 

i 182*J, about 100 y 

to Ele Oorsey, Elkrc 

e Arundel County, Haryland. 

d Speller, he 

i $1.00 for 23 lessons. A 
tc, at 29 bought his fnsedoi 
t $1,000.00, but sacrificed 

John Baptist Snowden -Marr-ed 

Maryland, May 15, 1831. 

■"fli-"?-"': Coone Snowden, 

;,yV.,nd 6 Girls. 
County, Maryland f 
home, namely Antho 

l June 3, 180?, owned by Mrs 
when Margaret was 8 ywars c 
s they could not read or write so v 
Had excellent memory, spoke German, 
heared sheep, crded the wool, cook 
h her produce. Nurse, Mid-wife. 

i s wi f e Margaret Coo ne Snowden, had 

j - ' ■' -.y-. c -- : s "nowc'en. 

ren 7 Boys and 7 Gir 

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